The intersection of -- or conflict between -- morality and politics is a theme that never seems dated, particularly in Washington. The Shakespeare Theatre is addressing that issue in John Strand's new translation of Alfred de Musset's 19th- century drama, Lorenzaccio.

Set in 16th-century Florence, the play focuses on Lorenzo de Medici, cousin, friend and intended assassin of the infamous tyrant, Alessandro de Medici. Under Michael Kahn's direction, the Shakespeare Theatre's cast is headed by Jeffrey Carlson (whose Broadway credits include Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?) as Lorenzo, and Robert Cuccioli (a Tony Award nominee for his starring role in the musical Jekyll and Hyde) as Alessandro. The company also features Baltimore actress Tana Hicken as Lorenzo's mother, Marie de Medici. Set design is by Shakespeare Theatre veteran and Tony Award-winner, Ming Cho Lee.

Showtimes at the Shakespeare Theatre, 450 Seventh St. N.W., Washington, are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through March 6. Tickets are $12.75-$68. Information: 877-487-8849.

-- J. Wynn Rousuck

'Eyes for Consuela'

Sam Shepard's Eyes for Consuela -- a 1998 play based on a short story by Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz -- opens at Fell's Point Corner Theatre tomorrow.

The production stars Rodney Atkins as an American vacationing in Mexico; Michael Harris as a thief who tries to steal the tourist's blue eyes; and Das Elkin as the object of the thief's affection. The Baltimore premiere is directed by Richard Dean Stover.

Showtimes at Fell's Point Corner, 251 S. Ann St., are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 20. Tickets are $14. Information: 410-276-7837.

-- J. Wynn Rousuck

String quartet

Candlelight Concerts in Columbia, one of the most reliable sources of quality chamber music in the region, offers another enticement this weekend. The highly regarded American String Quartet, founded 30 years ago, is bringing a program of old and contemporary ma- terial. From the standard repertoire, there will be quartets from Beethoven's Op. 18 and Brahms' Op. 51. Providing balance and contrast will be the Quartet No. 2, titled "Shadow Dances," written in 1992 by colorful, crowd-pleasing American composer Richard Danielpour.

The concert is at 8 p.m. Saturday at Smith Theatre, Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Tickets are $29; $26 for senior citizens, $12 for students. Information: 410- 480-9950.

-- Tim Smith

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