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Hired Guns

A shadow army of mercenaries is waging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They outnumber U.S. troops on many battlefields, and they’re paid far more. Their profession is about as savory as killing people for profit can be. Xe Services, the impossible-to-pronounce kingpin mercenary clan formerly known as Blackwater, has been accused of procuring underaged prostitutes, mowing down civilians on joyrides through Iraqi streets, smuggling guns — and still nothing is done by the government. Confronting the diabolical privatization of war is thus left to playwrights like Carter W. Lewis, whose The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider follows a slam poet, two rogue mercenaries, and an Afghan cabbie with a thing for Led Zeppelin on a sort of Tim Learyesque road trip through hell.

Intrigued? The winning cast includes Antonio Amadeo and Todd Allen Durkin, and it previews at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Florida Stage (701 Okeechobee Blvd., Ste. 300, West Palm Beach). It then debuts Friday and runs through June 5. Tickets cost $40 for the preview. Call 561-585-3433, or visit
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 4. Continues through June 5, 2011

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