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In war (times)

How can art confront war? This is a question that writer and Chilean expatriot Ariel Dorfman has wrestled with throughout his life. His new play Picasso's Closet, is set in Paris during the creation of Picasso's famous "Guernica" painting. On Thursday at 7 p.m., local audiences have a chance to get a sneak peek at a play that's destined to make a big premiere in New York or London, when the Duke Institute of the Arts presents a staged reading in Reynolds Theater. Director John Dillon, a visiting artist at UNC, has assembled professional actors from New York and the Triangle to play the roles of the famous painter, Jean Cocteau, Dona Maar and others. The reading is part of a series called "The Arts in Times of War," an assemblage of works from people in the arts community concerned about the war in Afghanistan, and the looming threat of violence at home and abroad. "An exile and an anti-fascist, Pablo Picasso lived in Nazi-occupied Paris for four years," says Dorfman. "What did he have to do in order to survive?" Dorfman, a Duke professor, knows this territory all too well. The event is free and open to the public. Call 660-3356 for more information. --Fiona Morgan

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