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Studio Theatre built its reputation by bringing envelope-pushing contemporary plays to D.C., but an important part of its mission is the Studio 2ndStage series, which highlights smaller productions that are nonetheless brimming with thoughtful and often controversial ideas. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of 2ndstage, Studio has put together “Pas de Deux: Plays from New Zealand and Canada.” Both plays are modest in scope—each includes only two characters—but their minimalist depictions of love are intense. David MacIvor’s 2-2 Tango follows an interracial couple as it navigates the travails of romance, whether they’re exciting or melancholy; then there’s Gary Henderson’s Skin Tight, an exploration of marriage Studio calls a “physically intense, erotically charged duet.” Modern plays about love are not always the best date ideas—playwrights can push romantic intrigue into very ugly territory—but this double billing is varied enough so that afterward, you won’t be sheepish when it’s time to dissect the plays at a nearby bar.

The plays run April 24 to May 19 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. $30. (202) 332-3300. studiotheatre.org.