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To Sunday

It’s purported that Alfred Hitchcock said that “actors are cattle.” But to the Playwright, one of six (mostly) iconically named characters in local bard Gwydion Suilebhan’s compounding and confounding metafarce, that’s just wishful thinking. As staged by the Taffety Punk Theatre Company, Let X—the title refers to the beginning of an algebraic equation—begins with an actor’s rebellion just after curtain, when our hero, X (a winning Marcus Kyd), interrupts the action to speak to the audience. He’s sorry, he says, but he must talk to the Playwright before he can continue. Confused about his character, he needs to sort it out for himself if the show’s to have any hope making sense. The Playwright (Christopher Marino) reacts with the kind of charity you’d expect from a neurotic scribe who’s watching his cast hijack his play before his very eyes. While X overrides the Playwright’s wishes at every turn, he remains deferential to the Stagehand (Lynn McNutt), who possesses the Godlike power to skip ahead to later scenes. Forever rebuilding the fourth wall only to smash it down again, Let X is so fast, funny, and inventive that when it eventually begins to gasp for breath, it’s a letdown. Still, the first 45 minutes are worth fighting for. The performance begins at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, to Sunday, May 7, at Flashpoint’s Mead Theatre Lab, 916 G St. NW. $10. (202) 261-6612. (Chris Klimek)