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Five Plays on Local Stages That Won't Make You Barf Sugarplums

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Enough with the feelgood shows of the season. Bring on the feel-bad entertainment! If you're feelin' Scrooge-y and would rather throttle Tiny Tim than sit through another Christmas Carol, here are five alternatives amid the blizzard of holiday fare.

Race, Kitchen Dog Theater, through December 14. David Mamet's tight little two-act does a clever plot switch halfway through. You just think it's a drama about a rich white guy accused of raping a young black woman in a hotel room. But the defendant's lawyers, one black, one white, suddenly turn on their assistant, a young black woman just out of law school who almost screws up the case. What's in her background that's so controversial? Directed by Chris Carlos, actors Max Hartman, Jamal Gibran Sterling, JaQuai Wade and Cameron Cobb lend just the right level of tension and dark comedy to Mamet's explosion of words about racism, sexism, affirmative action, class warfare and what some lawyers will do to win big. At the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Avenue. Box office, 214-953-1055.

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Uptown Players, December 5-14. This company's first-ever holiday show is a raucous R-rated comedy "passion play" by gay playwright Paul Rudnick, who rewrites the Book of Genesis with the births of Adam and Steve. And Jane and Mabel. Fast-forward to the Great Flood, the parting of the Red Sea and right up to the present, at brunch in Manhattan, where the characters' relationships are tested. Presented in comedy vignettes, the play offers some very different Sunday school lessons in tolerance. The cast includes Beth Albright, Marisa Diotalevi, Kelsey Ervi, Bronze Hill, Morgan Mabry Mason, Kevin Moore, Chad Peterson, Darius-Anthony Robinson and Paul J. Williams. Director is B.J. Cleveland. Rated R for adult language and nudity. At Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Box office, 214-219-2718.

Romeo and Julieta, Cara Mia Theatre Company, December 6-21 (student matinee 10 a.m., December 11). If you need a little Shakespeare, right this very minute, there's nothing like a double teen suicide and some random stabbings to kill the Christmas spirit. Cara Mia presents the classic tragedy in a new production blending the Bard's original English with contemporary Spanish. With a musical score by S-Ankh Rasa. Latino Cultural Center 2600 Live Oak St.. Call 214-516-0706 for tickets.

Sebastian, Ochre House, December 7-21. Director-writer Matthew Posey, whom we depend upon for theatrical weirdness, has a new comedy based on some of his own real-life experiences in small-town Texas. When the title character, a hermaphrodite (played by the mono-named Bryce), returns to Paducah, Texas, after a 20-year absence, he/she has to deal with a redneck brother, a "tough as a boot" mom and some dark family secrets. With live music by Lyle Hathaway and Floyd Kearn-Simmons. 825 Exposition Ave. Call 214-826-6273 for tickets.

The Seven, Greer Garson Theatre, SMU, December 4-8. Meadows School of the Arts playwright-in-residence Will Power has rewritten Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes, using hip-hop, doo-wop, 1970s funk, gospel, R&B and blues. The story follows the sons of Oepidus the King as they battle for the throne, but updates all of it to modern urban America. Directed by guest artist Tre Garrett of Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre. Southern Methodist University, Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. Call 214-768-2787 for tickets.

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