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OK, an actual, edible lunch you’re on your own for. But starting Thursday, you can feed your head — and your appetite for theater — for nothing.

Actually that’s not an uncommon thing here in D.C. , and I’ll be pointing these things out from time to time. (My mantra about theater: Nobody should ever pay full price.)

But the deal this week is maybe a little bigger than the usual: Thursday marks the kickoff for the Inkubator Festival, an annual new-plays shindig put together by the nice folk at a D.C. play-development outfit called the Inkwell.

Of “Inkreadings” and “Inkubator Productions,” after the jump…

The numbers:

  • 18 “raw new plays” (chosen from a pool of 400 submissions)
  • 3 “Showcase Readings,” each a smorgasbord of snippets from several plays
  • 3 “Inkreadings,” full-length events in which writers Jason Gray Platt, Susan Soon He Stanton, and Julie Taiwo Oni will see their new plays semi-staged.
  • 1 “Inkubator Production” of Melissa Blackall’s The F Word, billed as “a biting commentary on America’s obsession with fat.”  Jessica Lefkow (Theater J’s Honey Brown Eyes) directs.

Plus talkbacks, open rehearsals, master classes, a playwrights’ conclave and such. (Lotsa details and a handy events calendar at the Inkwell site.) It’s all at the H Street Playhouse, starting Sept. 24 and running through Oct. 18.  And again: It’s all free.