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The story behind Ward Just’s new play is almost as entertaining as the work itself. While living in Paris, the writer was persuaded to attend a production of La Contrebasse, a French-language play by Patrick Suskind, author of the novel Perfume. Although Just’s wife and companions insisted that they would translate (the writer is not fluent in French), that’s not what happened. “I had matters pretty much well in hand until about the fifth minute, when the narrative collapsed,” he says, because he “had no idea what the actor, Jacques Villeret, was saying.” After determining that the playa monologuehad to do with a musician and his relationship with his double bass, Just reimagined the work and adapted it for a reporter and his typewriter. The result is Lowell Limpettalso a monologuein which we listen in as the old-style newspaper man, a crusty Pulitzer Prize-winner, dodges phone calls from his editor and publisherwho want to demote him to obituary writer. The play might have been left to print, but when the writer is a longtime novelist and erstwhile Vietnam reporter for the Washington Post, it’s unlikely his work will vanish into obscurity. Playwright Michael Weller encouraged Just to submit Lowell Limpett to a program at New York’s Cherry Lane Alternative Theater, where Wendy Wasserstein godmothered it and actor Gerry Bamman portrayed the reporter. Bamman reprises the role tonight as Just watches from the wings at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Robin Dougherty)