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The Care of Trees 

When: May 18-June 19 2011
Price: $17-$26

For all its intellectual pretensions and wildly disparate themes - the shortcomings of language, disease as metaphor, environmentalism, philosophy and law, psychoanalysis, memory, the transience of nature - Shotgun Players' latest is, at its heart, a rather traditional romantic folk tale. But don't worry, folks: It's not quite as Seventies as it sounds. The story is about a single relationship that starts off idyllic but runs into a seemingly intractable problem. The two characters, Travis Dekalb (played by a savagely handsome Patrick Russell) and Georgia Swift (the sinuous Liz Sklar) have enough onstage chemistry to make their love scenes extremely sensual, and their arguments frustratingly realistic. They speak in a loopy, elliptical language that's supposed to highlight its own deficiencies. Videography by Ian Winters and a soundscape by Jake Rodriguez enhance Nina Ball's elaborate, tree-house set design. And, fittingly, tree metaphors abound. Through June 26 at The Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley). $17-$26. 510-841-6500 or ShotgunPlayers.org

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— Rachel Swan

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