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Cinéma Vérité

Find yourself front and center when the curtain goes up at a Cherry Red Productions play and chances are (a) it’s your first time, (b) you’ll be sitting in the back after intermission, or (c) you’ll leave covered in something undesirable. Since 1995, the company has built its reputation on the spewing of bodily fluids. But Cherry Red virgins and veterans alike can put their minds at ease, for Wendy MacLeod’s Cinéma Vérité is officially puke-, piss-, shit-, blood-, and even fuck-free. Developed at Yale Cabaret during the House of Yes playwright’s grad-school years, Cinéma Vérité “takes on the world of arty art and the arty artists who make it.” Poor Baby Amore, the one true gem among Lazlo’s Starbabies, was accidentally burnt to death at the stake during the filming of the artiste’s latest masterpiece. What are an art-world superstar and his remaining trio of protégés to do, other than form a tribunal dedicated to serving her memory? (John Horn, Kate Debelack, Brent Lowder, and Marcus Lawrence, as Lazlo, are pictured.) Cherry Red’s players are capable enough camp playwrights themselves, but, as evidenced by their 2002 production of McLeod’s Schoolgirl Figure, this band of filthy-minded thespians benefits from the structure of outside material. With a third party charting the course—and director Jennifer Ambrosino at the wheel—the dialogue is noticeably tighter, the wit quicker, and the stage a whole hell of a lot drier. Grab a seat in Row A at 8 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, to Sunday, May 9, at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, 1725 Columbia Road NW. $15. (202) 298-9077. (Matthew Borlik)