We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

It’s Bastille Day, but since you tried, and failed, to get a ticket to that tres chic party at the French Embassy again, the Fringe & Purge Action News and Commentary Squad has some alternative suggestions, starting with Faction of Fools’ tor de Commedia dell’Arte, Tales of Courage and Poultry .

Our critic Sophia Bushong, who is a big fan of the genre, says the company does a great job of forging a connection between a contemporary sensibility and the centuries’ old form. She also points out that Commedia dell’Arte originated in Italy, but the French liked it too, so go with me here.

Of course it’s the Germans, not the French, who perennially support the Fringe Festival by providing an air-conditioned venue on 7th Street. Glen Weldon recommends that you head to the Goethe Institut tonight to see Michael Walsh’s one-man show about the 6,000 transatlantic airline passengers stranded in Newfoundland in the days following 9/11. Says Glen: “Between Takeoff and Landing is a funny, nuanced evening of theater, and Walsh is smart about the people he depicts.”

Sticking with our foreign themes, Derek Hills says if you are going to keep the kids out late, take them for an artful Spanish lesson, with shadow puppets. The Malachite Palace, presented by Wit’s End Puppets, reset Derek’s expectations for the form. (Previously, he thought shadow puppetry could only be performed by schoolkids playing around with an overhead projector.) Four puppet artists are at work behind the screen here. Derek sums up the story thusly: “A parable on matters of kid-freedom and companionship, tracks the bubbly wanderings of a bird – no, pajaro! – as it flits between a lonely princess’s chamber and the world of children and play beyond.

So there you go. Storm the theaters! Go hear the people sing! Even if Les Mis isn’t actually about the French Revolution, it’s about that other French proletariat, student-protest thing. And do NOT e-mail us about the photo. We know that’s not the Bastille. It’s the Paris Opera House. This is a theater blog, people.