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Miss Julie 

When: Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. and Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through May 17 2009
Price: $28-$50

Despite being intemperate, depressive, and too neurotic to hold a marriage together, Swedish playwright August Strindberg was one of the 19th century's most astute analysts of class and gender. His 1888 drama Miss Julie -- about a scandalous affair between a Count's daughter and her ambitious footman -- still has resonance today, since taboo romances will never quite go out of style. Director Mark Jackson offers a revealing interpretation of Miss Julie,with Lauren Grace in the title role and Mark Anderson Phillips as her seducer. The actors do a remarkable job of conveying emotions through their gestures and eye movements, and of presenting a power struggle that's as much about sex as it is about social class. (Thus, hierarchies are slippery). The story of Miss Julie is fascinating on its face; it's always fun to watch a pampered aristocrat leave her warm-coated bubble and get stuck on the wrong side of the tracks. But the subtext about sexuality and class barriers makes it timeless. Through May 10 at AuroraTheatre (2081 Addison St., Berkeley). $28-$42.

— Rachel Swan


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