Pay-What: It’s shorthand for “Pay-What-You-Can Performances,” and it’s how theaters fill seats and theater junkies get their fill without bankrupting themselves. And it’s a good way to see a show on the spur of the moment.

So seein’ as how it’s Thursday, and you’re starting to think about your weekend, you might want to think about these. Rules and regs vary from theater to theater; if you wanna know more, click through the links on the theater names to find contact info for each company.

But in general, Pay-Whats are good on an as-available basis, and you can’t reserve seats. But if you’re flexible, it’s a good deal: You show up, hand over whatever you can afford, and see the same show the guy in the next seat paid $25—or sometimes much more—to see.

Here’s what I know about this week:

  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Theatre Alliance. Salman Rushdie fabulizes fatwa. Inventive, if a little uneven, but lots of striking work. City Paper review here. Closing this weekend. Pay-What performance Saturday at 2 p.m. At the H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE.
  • Boston Marriage, Actors Theatre of Washington. David Mamet channels Oscar Wilde. Or maybe Henry James. With lesbians. City Paper review here. Hilarious, and closing this weekend. Pay-What performance Sunday at 2 p.m. At the Source Theatre space, 1835 14th St. NW.
  • The Gigli Concert, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Howard Shalwitz, Mitchell Hebert, and Kim Schraf revive a Woolly legend. Critics don’t see the new production until April 8; City Paper review of the 1996 production here. Pay-What previews Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. At Woolly, 7th and D streets NW.
  • Bal Masque, Theater J. Hot property Richard Greenberg imagines the afterparty on the night of Truman Capote’s legendary Black-and-White Ball. Critics don’t see it until April 9. Pay-What previews next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 8:30 p.m. At the Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater at the Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Box office opens at 6; cash or check only, no reservations.

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