TO AUG. 29

When William Shakespeare scripted repartee verite for the war between the sexes, he didn’t anticipate Shakespeare in Love playwright-deconstructionist-screenwriter genius Tom Stoppard. And when Stoppard wrote Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, he didn’t bank on producer-deconstructionist-director-genius Kathleen Ackerley. When writing his classic comedy, Stoppard borrowed Hamlet’s homies Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to star in what Ackerley calls “a play abutting a play.” Following last summer’s Macbeth, lawyer-turned-actor Ackerley again takes her MFA in acting to the other side of the fourth wall to direct Longacre Lea Productions’ second Shakespearean endeavor. To demonstrate men’s alienation from women, and the unwritten rules men must learn in order to get some, Ackerley has cast women in many of the play’s male roles. Despite the female majority, it’s a variety of male communication patterns that are underscored in Ackerley’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are clueless about making nice with the ladies, while the desirable Hamlet, in keeping with Stoppard’s trademark use of anachronism, totes around a crimson-bound, gilt-lettered copy of Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider’s The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. Why do women of the ’90s still search for a blueprint of the male psyche, even when they know that men only have one thing on their minds? We need look no further than the words Stoppard appropriated from Shakespeare. After all, isn’t being a guy really the world’s oldest profession? At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday (except Aug. 29), and Thursday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, Saturday, Aug. 28, and Sunday, Aug. 29, to Sunday, Aug. 29 at Catholic University’s Callan Theatre, 620 Michigan Ave. NE. $10. (202) 316-1659. (Amanda Fazzone)