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The joke’s on Walentas

Greed and jealousy! Adultery and revenge! And … David Walentas?

That’s the way one DUMBO theater troupe sees things as they prepare their spring production, “Arden: The Lamentable Tragedie of a DUMBO Real Estate Mogul.”

Spring Theaterworks, based in the artsy neighborhood, picked the 400-year-old play because of a “resemblance to a contemporary real estate mogul,” laughed the company’s executive director, Jeffrey Horne.

Originally written in 1592 — some say by William Shakespeare — “Arden” is the story of an extremely wealthy English landowner who was murdered in 1551 by hit men hired by his wife and her lover. In 1793, another version of the Thomas Arden story was written by playwright George Lillo and titled “Arden of Feversham.”

Horne and director Michelle Salerno collaborated on a new adaptation, cobbling together pieces of the old plays and giving the whole thing a modern flair. In their version, Thomas Arden is the owner of Arden Properties, a big DUMBO real-estate firm. Thanks to strong political ties, Arden is given exclusive rights to develop a contested plot of land, creating resentment and anger among his enemies.

“I’ve been wanting to do this play for a really long time, but I could never find a good reason,” said Horne. “When we made the comparison to David Walentas, the similarities hit us like a brick.”

The famously arts-friendly Walentas had no comment, but Horne isn’t worried about losing a patron.

“I don’t rent space from Walentas anyway,” he said. — Rizk

Performances of “Arden” are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, April 19 to May 12, at 25 Jay St., between John and Plymouth streets, Studio 203. Free.

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