"Tree" ★★★

At the top this new play by Julie Hebert, a white woman from Louisiana knocks at the door of a bungalow on Chicago's South Side, where an African-American family resides. The woman's father has died, and she has discovered some letters revealing another love, and maybe another set of kin. If that sounds like the premise for a highly predictable story about family revelations, "Tree" doesn't grow that way at all. Hebert's main interest is in how the succeeding generations respond to long-lost relationships, if they mean anything at all. Director Andrea J. Dymond has cast this show superbly. Although she reaches a bit too hard for symbolic import, Elaine Rivkin, Aaron Todd Douglas and the rest of the cast let us see these worlds very well in our minds.<br>
<br>
<i>- CHRIS JONES<br>
<br>
Through May 1 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; $35-$50 at 773-871-3000 and victorygardens.org</i>
chi-tree-capsule

At the top this new play by Julie Hebert, a white woman from Louisiana knocks at the door of a bungalow on Chicago's South Side, where an African-American family resides. The woman's father has died, and she has discovered some letters revealing another love, and maybe another set of kin. If that sounds like the premise for a highly predictable story about family revelations, "Tree" doesn't grow that way at all. Hebert's main interest is in how the succeeding generations respond to long-lost relationships, if they mean anything at all. Director Andrea J. Dymond has cast this show superbly. Although she reaches a bit too hard for symbolic import, Elaine Rivkin, Aaron Todd Douglas and the rest of the cast let us see these worlds very well in our minds.

- CHRIS JONES

Through May 1 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; $35-$50 at 773-871-3000 and victorygardens.org

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