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The Ticket: Theater

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THE SEAGULL Director Maria Aitken deftly mines the vein of humor that runs alongside the currents of melancholy in Anton Chekhov’s play before shifting decisively to the much darker mood of its final act. Her cast, led by the estimable Kate Burton and fortified by such Boston stalwarts as Thomas Derrah and Nael Nacer, proves capable of sustaining Chekhov’s tricky blend of drollery and anguish. Through April 6. Huntington
Theatre Company. At Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

THE WHALE The protean John Kuntz is riveting as a nearly 600-pound man who is marooned in his own body but determined to connect with his estranged teen-age daughter in Samuel D. Hunter’s prize-winning drama, directed by David R. Gammons. Through April 5. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com
DON AUCOIN

BRUNDIBÁR & BUT THE GIRAFFE! (above) Tony Kushner’s adaptation of the 1942 children’s opera by Hans Krása and Adolf Hoffmeister could never be less than chilling, given that Krása and most of the children who performed it at the Nazi concentration camp in Terezín were subsequently shipped off to Auschwitz. But Underground Railway Theater gives the story of kids seeking milk for their ailing mother an upbeat performance, and the bully of the piece, the title character, isn’t too scary. The first half of the 90-minute evening is an original Kushner play about a Jewish girl whose family is being transported to Terezín and who’s being asked to leave her beloved stuffed giraffe behind in order to make room for her uncle’s copy of the “Brundibár” score. Through April 6. Underground Railway Theater at Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 866-811-4111, www.centralsquaretheater.org
JEFFREY GANTZ

Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.
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