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August 10, 2006|By J. WYNN ROUSUCK

Playwrights finale

The lowdown -- A pair of coming-of-age plays are the final offerings in the 25th annual Baltimore Playwrights Festival. Both open his weekend. Ira Gamerman's Split - produced by Uncommon Voices at Fell's Point Corner Theatre and opening tonight - concerns an insecure young man whose troubles are augmented by an unstable mother, a pair of imaginary friends, the return of an ex-girlfriend and even an Eskimo shaman. The cast is headed by Steve Polites; direction is by Ian Bellnap. Rich Espey's Hope's Arbor - opening tomorrow at the Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre - focuses on a 17-year-old girl dealing with everything from difficult parents to fat camp to college admissions essays. Under Jayme Kilburn's direction, Courtney Krimmel plays Hope; Mark Scharf and Allison Buckley portray her parents.

If you go -- Showtimes at Fell's Point Corner, 251 S. Ann St., are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 27; tickets are $14; call 410-655-4826. Showtimes at the Spotlighters, 817 St. Paul St., are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 26; tickets are $15; call 410-752-1225.


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