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TO MAY 26

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Coming so close on the heels of Joanne Akalaitis’ unorthodox, laugh-filled Dance of Death, Washington Stage Guild’s sprightly, if lower-rent, production of Friedrich Duerrenmatt’s riff on the same story is an intriguing artifact. Like Akalaitis, Duerrenmatt viewed Alice and Edgar’s marriage-from-hell as worthy of humor rather than Strindbergian angst. He set Play Strindberg’s action in a boxing ring and divided it, absurdist-style, into rounds instead of scenes. For the first act, the battles between Alice (Laura Giannarelli) and Edgar (John MacDonald) hew pretty closely to those in Dance, but in Act 2 the author’s imagination re-choreographs their fight, throwing both them and their hapless visitor, Kurt (Conrad Feininger), entirely different punches. The more familiar you are with the original, the more fun you’re likely to have, but even for the uninitiated, Duerrenmatt’s goosing-up of the stakes will prove reasonably amusing. WSG’s production, cast exclusively with Equity performers and sharply directed by Alan Wade, is several cuts above the company’s usual playing level. At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday & Thursday, at 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday; matinees at 2:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday at Carroll Hall, 924 G St. NW. $18 & 20. (202) 529-2084. (Bob Mondello)