Every Thursday, we round up Pay-Whats and other cheap seats at local theaters. Just so’s your weekend is a little easier.

Before we start, remember the general rules: (A) Reservations for these? Not so much. (B) They’re offered on a space-available basis, so have a backup plan. (C) Click each theater name for details and contact info. Oh, and you might tell ‘em City Paper sent you.

It’s another slow Pay-What week—summer can be like that—so here’s another permatip for those who want to see theater on the cheap: usher. It’s so easy it’s almost like not working. And it’s better than Pay-What, ’cuz it’s usually free. Think of it as the free chicken wings at the never-ending happy hour that is the theater.

Every company recruits ushers differently, but most make it as simple as possible to get in the mix. Studio Theatre, for instance, has an easy-to-use Web sign-up form, and as of this posting they’re looking for people every night from now to Saturday, to help herd the crowds at this year’s DC Hip-Hop Theatre Festival. (Scroll down the page, and you’ll see they need more volunteers to usher for Caroline, or Change. Yup, it’s still running.)

Small companies, especially, rely on volunteers to keep budgets down. Solas Nua, for instance, used two volunteers every night to help with the tech on its well-reviewed production of Bedbound, which closes this weekend. They’re full up for that show, so don’t bother asking. But they’ve got an interesting-looking show coming up July 27 to July 30 at the Capital Fringe Festival, and you can sign up here for the company’s regular volunteer list.

A good rule of thumb: Decide what show you wanna see and what day you wanna see it, then check in with the house manager. (Phone the company’s main number and ask how to get hooked up.) A little advance notice couldn’t hurt.

As for Pay-Whats, here’s what I know about for this weekend:

  • 09/11/XX, Washington Shakespeare Company. First there was Cherry Red. Then there was the film about the Mormon zombies. Now Ian Allen is back with a play that looks at two acts of extremism: The Sept. 11 attacks of 2001, and the Mountain Meadows massacre of Sept. 11, 1857—the latter an event that still troubles the conscience of some Latter-day Saints. WSC has been workshopping the play in open rehearsals this week; Pay-What workshop performances are Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Clark Street Playhouse, 601 S. Clark St., Arlington.
  • Ellington: The Life and Music of the Duke, MetroStage. Jimi Ray Malary turns his “suave” baritone to the tunes of D.C.’s own jazz legend in a revue imported from Milwaukee. Critics see it this weekend. $15 seats Saturday at 5:30. (You can actually reserve this one: Phone (703) 548-9044, and use code TFOM.) MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria.
  • Tramps and Vamps, Actors Theatre of Washington. Two one-acts: Charles Busch‘s legendary drag epic Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which follows Joe Orton‘s black comedy The Ruffian On the Stair. Pay-What performance Saturday at 8 p.m. Church Street Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW.