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THEATER
New works, plus fresh life for the old, brought shining moments to local stages.

By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 30, 2007

1. Shining City. Conor McPherson's beautifully observed study of guilt and loneliness in contemporary Dublin was staged by Joy Zinoman and the Studio Theatre with a superb command of McPherson's language and characters.

2. Dead Man's Cell Phone. Sarah Ruhl's trenchantly performed comedy-in-progress was a highlight of an outstanding year for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, which unveiled such other promising works as Melissa James Gibson's "Current Nobody" and Noah Haidle's "Vigils."

3. Scenes From the Big Picture. In Owen McCafferty's teeming portrait of Belfast life, Solas Nua showed how a glorious acting ensemble can enlarge the contribution of the tiniest of theater companies.

4. The Fall of the House of Usher. Synetic Theater, under the confident leadership of Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, came up with an inspired danced version of Poe so creepy that even the House slithered.

5. The Taming of the Shrew. The Shakespeare Theatre Company's modern-dress production of this thorny comedy, directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman, overlaid the play's sexual politics with visual sparkle and an exhilarating sexiness.

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