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THROUGH SEPTEMBER 26

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If director Maynard Marshall wasn’t so intent on beating patrons over the head with the small truths of Frank Manley’s anecdotal tale of trailer-park greed, this could be a tidy little thriller. The basic elements are there: A paranoid, domineering woman and her submissive husband speak haltingly of the visit paid them two days earlier by an escaped criminal. Something dreadful evidently happened, though the whats, whys, and hows are obscure at first. Or rather, they would be if Marshall hadn’t encouraged actress Bethany Brown to play the woman so unsubtly that within 10 minutes the whole scenario is crystal clear. David Harscheid’s put-upon husband is better, and Chris Ellis’ minimal setting works well enough, though why the audience must be divided into opposing camps (delineated by pink and yellow admission cards) is never clear. In any event, deprived of suspense, this Southern Gothic just doesn’t play. Friday-Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at the Studio Theater, 14th & P Sts. NW. $12. (202) 332-3300. (Bob Mondello)