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JUNE 11-25

The Shakespeare Theater’s annual jaunt to Rock Creek Park brings Kelly McGillis (pictured), pith-helmeted Brits, turbaned pashas, and a be-fezzed Indian militia to the Carter Barron Amphitheater starting June 11. It probably hadn’t occurred to you that Twlefth Night‘s Illyria might be just down the pike from Calcutta, but thank heaven it occurred to director Michael Kahn back in 1989. He shipwrecked the Bard’s twins on the shores of India, and opened up a whole new trade route of comedy in the process. This is virtually the same production that laid ’em in the Lansburgh Theater’s aisles, except that now you can see it for free, and take in the three-week Shakespearean festival that surrounds it (backstage tours, stage-combat demos, makeup and audition workshops, student scenes, and pre- and post-show discussions). All this is designed to introduce diverse audiences to the work Shakespeare Theater is doing during the rest of its season. Some 45,000 people attended last year’s Free-for-All (158,000 since the program began in 1990), and tickets are always scarce. They’re available on the day of performance (up to four per person) at the Lansburgh Theater box office (450 7th St. NW) and the Carter Barron box office (16th St. & Colorado Ave. NW) beginning at noon. For early birds, they’re also available on weekdays at the Washington Post (1150 15th St. NW) beginning at 8:30 a.m. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday at the Carter Barron Amphitheater, 16th & Colorado Ave. NW. (202) 628-5770. (Bob Mondello)