Piggyback to Basics: Runt and Pig share babytalk, awkward secrets.

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Born minutes apart 17 years ago, Irish teenagers Pig and Runt (as they affectionately call each other) have been inseparable ever since. And as Solas Nua’s Disco Pigs opens with them pantomiming their own births, we learn that since the instant they emerged from the womb, they’ve been speaking a private language—a sort of telepathic baby talk in a thick brogue—understood only by each other. All the same, there’s been a major miscommunication between the two. Sinead, or Runt, the more mature of the duo, feels penned in by her often stifling friendship with the churlish Pig and yearns for something more. Darren, or Pig, on the other hand, is just beginning to realize his feelings for Runt. And on this, the night of their shared 17th birthday, as the two stumble drunkenly from nightclub to nightclub, their true feelings rise to the surface with tragic results. Disco Pigs is only an hour long, but it’s an exhausting, physical 60 minutes. Runt (Madeleine Carr) and Pig (Rex Daugherty) explode onto the stage with the frenetic energy that only children have, even though these kids are very nearly grown up. Doing handstands, dancing, and flinging each other across the stage in a shopping cart (the show’s only prop), Carr and Daugherty shout much of the dialogue, and the command they hold over their characters’ teenage bodies—both the burgeoning sexuality and the boundless energy is thoroughly real. Both actors are reprising their roles from the 2008 off-Broadway production of Disco Pigs, also produced by Solas Nua, but this isn’t the first time that the Enda Walsh play has been performed in D.C. The 2005 production was one of the company’s first-ever performances, with artistic director Linda Murray and producing director Dan Brick in the lead roles. Pig and Runt are a perfect team of hoodlums: demanding free liquor, picking fights, and carousing in the streets of Cork (“Pork,” to them). They compare themselves to their classmates: “What do they want to be?” asks Runt. “They want to be their moms and dads, of course!” replies Pig. “What do we want to be?” she asks. “Left alone!” The pair jabber on in their strange tongue and inhale late-night snacks like squealing piglets until the inevitable happens: They kiss. Then it all goes quiet. “Where’d the buzz go?” asks Pig. From that point on, like a hangover, the pain sets in as Pig and Runt begin their sudden and respective breakdowns. The partners-in-crime since infancy grow up quite quickly. But as she sets off on her own, Runt keeps up her baby talk, even when no one who will listen—until she has absolutely run out of words.