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    Critic’s picks: Theater

    Vlatka Horvat: Also called: Backbone, anchor, lifeline
    Vlatka Horvat: Also called: Backbone, anchor, lifeline

    Building blocks

    VLATKA HORVAT: ALSO CALLED: BACKBONE, ANCHOR, LIFELINE  How does the body respond to its environment? Using materials culled from the neighborhood around the gallery, Horvat investigates, building a precarious space with paths and obstructions. Through Dec. 20. Boston University Art Gallery at the Stone Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave. 617-353-3329,

    Cate McQuaid


    BETRAYAL Marital infidelity is one of the oldest stories there is. The twist Harold Pinter adds in this 1978 drama, of course, is to use reverse chronology to delineate the unspooling of a seven-year affair. In Maria Aitken’s precisely detailed production, the backward-moving narrative casts a refracted, subtly illuminating light. Through Dec. 9. Huntington Theatre Company. At Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800,



    THE NUTCRACKER In this year’s Boston Ballet production, everything old is new again, with a freshly imagined concept and sparkling new sets and costumes by Robert Perdziola that are sure to dazzle the eye. The Land of the Sweets should be especially delicious. Nov. 23-Dec. 30. $35-$172. Boston Opera House.


    THE NUTCRACKER José Mateo Ballet Theatre celebrates 25 years of presenting Mateo’s charmingly intimate, spirited version of the classic ballet, which will feature more than 200 children over the course of performances in three different locations. The South Shore production is this weekend. Nov. 24-25. $15-$50. Duxbury Performing Arts Center, Duxbury. 617-354-7467,

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    IMPACT DANCE COMPANY The name says it all: This fledgling troupe wants to make a difference. The company’s first benefit concert is inspired by and dedicated to the young daughter of choreographer Meghan McCaffrey’s good friend, who has cerebral palsy. The little girl not only touched McCaffrey’s heart but sparked, as the press release notes, “visions of movement in my head.” Nov. 23-24, 8 p.m. $10-$20. Green Street Studios, Cambridge. 617-997-3527,

    THE NUTCRACKER AT ROSECLIFF Island Moving Company’s special take on Clara’s magical journey unleashes the ballet’s action in various rooms of the famed mansion. As Clara treks through her adventures, so does the audience, finally ending up in the romantic ballroom. Nov. 23-30. $50-$90. Rosecliff, Newport, R.I. 401-847-4470,



    LILLIAN ORLOWSKY & WILLIAM FREED: EMERGING AT MID-CENTURY  These works by the Abstract Expressionist couple, never before exhibited, include paintings they made under the tutelage Hans Hofmann. The lush, painterly canvases contrast with Orlowsky’s more orderly, yet syncopated, textile designs. Through Dec. 22. ACME Fine Art, 38 Newbury St. 617-585-9551,

    DAVID CURCIO: I WOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT IT  Appearing homespun and recalling folk art or samplers made by girls in the 18th and 19th centuries, Curcio’s mixed-media pieces are infused with dark and playful themes, such as depression, love, lust, and pharmaceuticals. Through Jan. 13. Laconia Gallery,
    433 Harrison Ave. 857-222-0333,


    VICTORIA FU: MILK OF THE EYE  Fu deploys color photos, drawings, and film projections to explore transitional borders – places that are neither here nor there, but some ghostly mix of the two, and which may make you doubt your grasp on reality. Through Dec. 22. Samson, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-357-7177,



    CHROMO-MANIA! THE ART OF CHROMOLITHOGRAPHY IN BOSTON 1840-1910 A brilliant survey of color prints in Boston, which was the first American city to introduce the technique of chromolithography. Through Jan. 12. Boston Athenaeum. 617-227-0270,

    IN THE HOLOCENE A group exhibition that conceives of art as a speculative science, featuring work by John Baldessari, Marcel Broodthaers, Jack Goldstein, Joan Jonas, On Kawara, and Robert Smithson, among others. Through Jan. 6. List Visual Arts Center. 617-253-4680,

    A look at the influence of John Graham’s circle on American modernism. Through Dec. 30. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover. 978-749-4015,

    JULIANNE SWARTZ: HOW DEEP IS YOUR Inventive, poetic, and witty installations and sculpture that play with perception. Through Dec. 30. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781-259-8355,