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When The School for Wives premiered in 1662, Moliere himself played the main protagonist, a man named Arnolphe who had raised a young woman since the age of five to be his wife. The psychology of such strange marital maneuvering? That the girl will be so ignorant and happy, she could love no other than her chosen husband. While such a plot sounds ludicrous today, the story parallels Moliere's own marriage to Armande Bejart, a woman he had kept as his ward since her girlhood. History can only speculate what happened in real life, but in the play Arnolphe returns from a trip to find that his innocent bride-to-be has fallen for another man, and general mayhem ensues. PlayMakers Repertory Company opens its silver anniversary season at 8 p.m. Sept. 9 with a production of this brutal comedy, directed by the internationally acclaimed Laszlo Marton. If you can't catch it this weekend, the play runs through Oct. 1; tickets range from $9 to $34. Call 962-7529 for more information.

DiamondDiamondDiamondIn another locally produced, theatrically complicated love story, two strangers, Raleigh and May, meet on a train, only to discover they are from the same small Kentucky community. Despite their common roots, Raleigh has an expansive worldview broadened by literature, while May's is narrow, defined by strict moral values. Playwright Arlene Hutton uses these characters to define rural America's endearing mixture of social tolerance and religious conservatism in Last Train to Nibroc, which has been running at Manbites Dog since late August. The play's remaining dates are Sept. 6-7, 10, and 12-17; tickets are $10 and $14. For more information, call 682-3343.

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