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A Delicate Balance 

When: Sept. 2-3, 8 p.m., Sun., Sept. 4, 2 p.m., Tue., Sept. 6, 7 p.m., Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. and Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23 2011
Price: $10-$55

Three-time Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Edward Albee is famous for putting audiences through the emotional wringer. It's not just that he writes about tense domestic situations and sluices all of them with alcohol. It's also the denseness of his language and the utter complexity of his characters, many of whom function better when drunk. For those reasons, Albee's play A Delicate Balance, now in repertory at AuroraTheatre under the auspice of artistic director Tom Ross, is as excruciating as it is extraordinary. What's more, Ross has assembled a fabulous cast to interpret the storyline. Married actors Kimberly King and Ken Grantham play Agnes and Tobias, an elderly couple who become unwitting caretakers for a whole army of needy, unfortunate people, including their recently divorced daughter Julia (Carrie Paff), Agnes' witty boozer sister Claire (Jamie Jones), and a couple of neighbors (Anne Darragh and Charles Dean) who arrive, inexplicably, to save themselves from some unnamed terror. It's all about loss and alienation in post-war America, but the themes are equally relevant today. Through Oct. 9 at Aurora Theatre (2081 Addison St., Berkeley). $15-$48. 510-843-4822 or

— Rachel Swan


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