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God's Ear 

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through June 20 2010
Price: $15-$28

A slouchy Jezebel, a pistol-packing transvestite airline stewardess, a walking G.I. Joe Toy, a winged Tooth Fairy, and a Hawaiian-shirted barfly all fill out the chorus line in God's Ear, which might be the weirdest production yet to grace Shotgun Players' stage. Written by Jenny Schwartz and directed by Erika Chong Shuch, the play uses elliptical dialogue, surreal symbols, and body movements to convey emotions that exceed human language. We get the whole story straightaway in the first scene, when Ted (Ryan O'Donnell) and Mel (Beth Wilmurt) come forth and recount the tale of their young son's death. The next ninety minutes show the characters' mounting despair as they try to work through their grief. For Mel, catharsis comes in the form of hysterical, looped story-talk, most of it about nothing in particular. It culminates with a powerful scream. Ted heals himself by leaving on a business trip (destination TBD) and bonding with various random characters who all have dead sons of their own, and who may or may not be extensions of his own psychology. ZehraBerkman is terrific as the aforementioned Jezebel. Nika Ezell Pappas is sprightly as Ted and Mel's six-year-old daughter. Shuch's choreography -- which includes action-figure chorus lines and characters sliding down banisters -- ensures the success of this strange, wonderful show. Through June 20 at Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave.) Thursday-Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m., $15-$30.

— Rachel Swan


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