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Ever wonder how Sesame Street's giant, shambly dog, Barkley, got around? Inside him was an acrobat named Fred Garbo, a fellow who has gone on to found a theater company that takes seriously the term "light on your feet." The Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Company (pictured) features Garbo and his lovely partner, the Brazilian-born ballerina Daielma Santos, dancing in costumes that fill with helium. Garbo has tumbled for the New York City Opera, while Santos' previous credits include dancing with Brazil's Studio de Dancas, and their Oct. 29 show at N.C. State's Stewart Theater is sure to appeal to all ages. Admission is $6. Call 515-1100.

DiamondDiamondDiamondThe passion and consequence of forbidden relationships--truly perennial fodder that has fed the works of Sophocles, Shakespeare and their modern counterpart Peter Schaeffer--is the theme of Duke Players' 2000-2001 season. They open it this week with The Darker Face of the Earth (pictured), an antebellum revamping of the Oedipus myth that tells the story of a white woman who gives birth to a child of mixed race on a Charleston plantation. Its author, former United States poet laureate Rita Dove, has given a new-world twist to the Greek tragedy, adding a Yoruba prophetess, African dance and song and her own lyrical voice to the mix. Directed by Jeff Storer and starring both students and professionals, the production runs this week only (Oct. 25-28 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 28 and 29 at 2 p.m.), so don't wait for the reviews to go. Tickets are $9 for general admission; $7 for students/senior citizens; call 684-4444.

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