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Spotlight on the weekend: 'The Convert' at Woolly Mammoth; defying gravity with 'LEO'

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Entertainment,Buzz

Award-winning playwright Danai Gurira returns to Woolly Mammoth with an all-new play, "The Convert." Immerse yourself in the story of a young girl named Jekesai who escapes her South African village in 1895, during the height of the colonial scramble in Zimbabwe. She eventually discovers Christianity, but her newfound faith is put to the test as anti-colonial sentiments reach a boiling point. This rich and compassionate play examines the cultural and religious collisions that heavily influenced the post-colonial world.

The show is part of Pay-What-You-Can Friday at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (641 D St. NW). Just name your price -- it doesn't matter whether it's $1 or $100 as long as you give something. The performance starts at 8 p.m., but we suggest you line up about 4 p.m. to guarantee your tickets (then you can grab dinner).

Is the performer standing up or is he floating? Is he really walking sideways up that wall and swimming in the air? How is he defying gravity? These are all questions you'll probably ask yourself while watching the innovative Berlin-based production company Circle of Eleven's latest creation, "LEO." Directed by the Montreal actor and director Daniel Briere, "LEO" cleverly interweaves live performance and video projection to challenge your senses and test your perceptions of reality. Time Out New York has called it a "deeply impressive work of sustained absurdist magic," and it's won several awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Artisphere, in partnership with the Alliance Francaise, will host the performance on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in its Spectrum Theatre (1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington). Tickets are $30 at artisphere.com.

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