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To May 7

The course of true love never did run smooth. And it probably never ran less smooth than when half of the happy couple was a fire-breathing radioactive lizard the size of the Washington Monument and the other was a size-8 human female. Such is the premise of Yasuhiko Ohashi’s comic romance Godzilla, a strange and hugely popular specimen of late-’80s Japanese theater that gets its U.S. premiere tonight courtesy of the Landless Theatre Co. The piece chronicles the quest of the titular fire-breathing monster (played by Landless Artistic Director Andrew Baughman) and his human fiancée, Yayoi (Kate Hundley), to win over their prospective in-laws. Baughman likens the play to Avenue Q in that it references a universally recognizable cultural touchstone in a surprisingly moving way. He also notes that it won a Kishida Kunio Award (which he calls “the Japanese equivalent of a Tony”) in 1988. “I wouldn’t call it campy or a spoof,” he says. The elements that characterize Ohashi’s work—an absurdist splicing of tones and genres and an arbitrary disregard for the rules of time and space—will be in full effect. The Landless production uses an English translation by M. Cody Poulton, first produced in Toronto in 2002. The show’s narrator, Momo Nakamura, will read some of the text in the original Japanese with projected English subtitles. The play begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, to Sunday, May 7, at the District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. $18. (202) 462-7833. (Chris Klimek)