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Ancient Greece, 1950s Broadway, modern-day Italy and rural Oregon: that’s where the action is, in the 2013 Intiman Theatre Festival’s diverse slate of four plays, performed in rolling repertory. The fest, now in previews, runs through Sept. 15. Information and tickets: 888-377-4510 or

“We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!”: In this world-embraced romp by Dario Fo, the late Italian master of leftist farce, strapped housewives resort to pilfering food as grocery prices skyrocket — and then employ wild, slapstick subterfuges to hide their crime from spouses and cops. With Lucy-and-Ethel antics, Fo asks what is the greater crime: shoplifting or pricing people into starvation? Former Harvard University drama prof and clowning expert Jane Nichols directs Intiman’s version, timed to reflect the recent recession and mounting U.S. food prices. Opens July 13.

“Trouble in Mind”:
This prescient, unsparing backstage satire by important African-American playwright Alice Childress reflects the author’s own experiences as a performer contending with limited roles, liberal white guilt and racism (subtle and blatant) in the 1950s. It confronts the ironies and compromises facing a black actress who has won her first lead in a Broadway play — an anti-lynching drama. Valerie Curtis-Newton directs a cast led by Tracy Michelle Hughes. Opens July 17.

“Stu for Silverton”: This musical is the sole new work in the festival, and drawing considerable attention for its unique premise. It relates the real-life story of the election of Stu Rasmussen as the first openly transgender mayor in the U.S., in the small Oregon town of Silverton, and portrays how the citizenry battled homophobia in his defense. Andrew Russell directs; scripted by Peter Duchan, with a score by singer-songwriter Breedlove. Opens July 20.

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“Lysistrata”: Aristophanes wrote this pacifist battle-of-the-sexes comedy two millennia ago. But with wars still igniting and raging, and human enlightenment stalled, the piece can still feel timely. Director Sheila Daniels updates to modern times the tale about women waging a sex strike to keep their husbands out of battle. Opens July 24.

Misha Berson:

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