Theater: Faith, Firsts and Birth 

The highlight of the season, the second annual Acts of Faith festival, also kicks into gear this month. Almost the entire Richmond theater community has agreed to participate in some way, the result being an intriguing and electrifying slate of shows playing well into March. Offerings run the gamut from traditional classics, such as "The Miracle Worker" at Swift Creek Mill Theatre (Jan. 20-March 4), to whimsical comedies, such as "Greetings!" to be produced by Chamberlayne Actors Theatre (Jan. 25-Feb. 11). If the festival is anything like last year's, expect plenty of opportunities to discuss your reactions to these shows at talk-back sessions and panel discussions.

Not all of the best theater action will be festival-related, though. In fact, one ribald comedy — "Southern Baptist Sissies" by Richmond Triangle Players (Feb. 15-March 11) — could generate as many interesting conversations about faith as the whole festival combined. Meanwhile, Theatre IV will present a new adaptation of Mozart's "The Magic Flute," suitable for all ages and written and composed by local multitalent Paul Deiss (Feb. 18-March 26).

David Timberline has been reporting on theater for Style since 1998 and has appeared on stage only once, as a knight in a 1980 high school production of "The Princess and the Pea."


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