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Philadelphia Spotlight: February 2011

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Theatre Exile offers theatergoers a special treat with their production of Martin McDonagh's electrifying The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Plays and Players Theater, February 17-March 13). The best new play to emerge in years, McDonagh's dark comedy centers on a terrorist who seeks revenge for the death of his beloved cat. Featuring enough blood to fill one of America's Great Lakes, the play isn't for everyone, but if you like brutally funny theater that ignites your adrenal glands Inishmore delivers.

If you are looking for a different kind of love story for you and your Valentine visit Temple Theaters, which is presenting Charles Mee's Big Love (February 9-20). An innovative and very physical adaptation of Aeschylus' classic Greek text The Suppliant Women, the story follows 50 brides who are trying to break free of their imposed marriages to 50 horny husbands.

Flashpoint Theatre Company presents Adam Rapp's haunting and beautifully written drama Nocturne (February 2-26). A solo play told from the perspective of a man who as a teenager was involved in the accidental death of his sister, the production stars the accomplished actor Kevin Meehan.

InterAct Theatre Company offers two provocative productions this month with the company's staging of Francis Ya-Chu Cowhig's Lidless and a special engagement of Jennifer Schelter's Love Lessons from Abu Ghraib, both of which occupy the mainstage at The Adrienne through February 13. Commissioned by InterAct in 2009, Lidless tells the story of Alice, an ex- Army interrogator at Guantanamo Bay. Now living in Minnesota with her family, Alice is forced to confront her past when a previous detainee of the prison shows up demanding compensation for the suffering he endured. In the equally compelling Love Lessons, Schelter draws on her experiences as a renowned Yoga teacher to examine the repercussions of torture and the variety of ways to heal a broken body and wounded spirit.

Luna Theater Company concludes their season of controversial plays with the Philadelphia premiere of Sarah Kane's scandalous drama Blasted (February 10-March 5). This extraordinarily violent and shocking play concerns a middle-aged journalist and his encounter with a troubled young woman in a hotel room amidst the violence in Northern England.

One of the area's few family productions this month, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is at People's Light & Theatre Company, February 17-March 13. Part of the company's Target Family Discovery Series, Laura Eason's lively adaptation brings to life the antics of Tom and Huck Finn as they enjoy their shared youth along the muddy banks of the Mississippi River.

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