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.

This week we’ve got murder-mystery musicals, tortured lesbians rethought, and some plain ol’, straight-up torture from a Nobel winner:

  • New World Order and other plays, SCENA Theatre. Shorts from Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, including the chilling Mountain Language, in which a people essentially expires when denied the right to its own language, and the title piece—a blunter torture vignette written in response to the first Gulf War. Critics see them Monday. Pay-What previews Saturday at 7:30 p.m and Sunday at 3 p.m. At the Warehouse Theater, 1021 7th St. NW.
  • The Children’s Hour, Washington Shakespeare Company. Lee Gable direct’s Lillian Hellman’s classic tragic-lesbians melodrama, with a classically WSC twist: company artistic director Christopher Henley in the Shirley MacLaine role. Critics see it next Tuesday. Pay-What previews Thursday (tonight), Friday, Saturday, and Monday at 8 p.m. At Clark Street Playhouse, 601 S. Clark St., Arlington.
  • A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage, Round House Theatre. Music, too, as if there aren’t enough M’s in the mix already; Folger Theater favorite Aaron Posner writes and directs this new show based on a little-known Mark Twain short story, with music from his frequent collaborator James Sugg. Pay-What previews Saturday at 3 p.m. At Round House Bethesda, 4545 East-West Highway.