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Ah yes, the holidays: that special time for long lost relatives to meet, greet, trash the old home place, indulge in fisticuffs, start a few fires--and get into some truly weird behavior with electric kitchen appliances. Thank heavens Open Door Theater has come to rescue us from the edifying drift of recent programming with True West, one of Sam Shepard's funnier and repellant tributes to the American family.

In it, two brothers, one a successful writer, the other a modern-day drifter, start wanting what the other one's got. Their conflict escalates in the middle of the closest thing they've got to neutral territory: mom's nice, clean kitchen floor. Boy, is she going to be mad ...

Kevin Pool and Michael Babbitt have it out--for laughs--starting Jan. 1 at Carrboro's ArtsCenter. Call 929-2787 for info. --Byron Woods

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