The Pelican 

August Strindberg's 1907 chamber play about a woman who has an abnormally close relationship with her son-in-law is at once hyperrealistic--some dialogue resembles a verbatim transcript of conversation--and so bizarre as to leave reality far behind. At one point two characters engage in an ecstatic discussion as they're being burned alive. It's beyond me why Japanese-born director Makoto felt it was a good idea to add another stylistic layer to The Pelican in this Yama Works production. Granted, using some Noh traditions--especially eliminating any vestige of a detailed, realistic set--does help highlight the characters and conflicts. But many of his other choices, in particular using actors as props and ottomans, are very odd. Ultimately, though, it's hard to judge Makoto's concept because the acting is so flat and boring. Through 12/12: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Heartland Studio Theater, 7016 N. Glenwood, 773-583-3095. $15.

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