To Tree Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 29 2012

Idealistic, left-leaning journalist Julian says he's so disgusted with humanity that he's willing himself to turn into a tree—a life-form, he explains, that actually helps the planet. Cynical, right-leaning journalist Peter gets wind of Julian's apparent psychotic break and rushes to cover the story. Playwright Aaron Golden struggles to keep this necessarily static situation moving forward, but too often writes around its periphery rather explore its center. And his deployment of an existential metaphor to illustrate Julian's purely psychological crisis feels overwrought. Still, there's ample food for thought in M. William Panek's 85-minute production for the Brown Paper Box Company, thanks in large part to carefully shaded performances by Lance Newton and Christopher Hart. —Justin Hayford

Price: $10-$20

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