ANASTASIA KRUPNIK, Lifeline Theatre. Delightfully evocative, funny, and knowing, Lois Lowry’s novel depicts life as ten-year-old Anastasia Krupnik sees it. Filled with the omniscience conferred by life’s second decade, Anastasia keeps a list of things she hates and another of things she loves in a zealously guarded green notebook. Meryl Friedman’s arch adaptation likewise chronicles Anastasia’s volatile relations with an equally opinionated teacher, a contentedly senile grandmother, chum Jennifer, and two very hip parents.

After pretending to flirt with Catholicism (but no–too much squealing on yourself) and really flirting with a sixth-grader who puts her down, Anastasia must deal with a new addition to the family, a baby boy whose arrival quickly earns him a place on her hate list (depicted in constantly changing projections). Now she not only fears that she’s in the way but that she’ll be out of the picture. But Anastasia is wisely given the responsibility of naming her new brother–and rises to the occasion: the name she picks could not be better.

Director Kay Martinovich deftly delivers this complicated charmer, balancing the wry remarks Lowry intends for time-traveling adults against the immediate emotion of Anastasia’s jealousy. Madeleine Mager exactly conveys the moody girl’s restless wonder, Wendy Weber’s mother is the last word in unflappability, Kevin Kelly delivers the father’s deadpan wit with precision, Margaret Kusterman grounds the grandmother in her memories, and Megan A. Oberle makes a very good best friend.

–Lawrence Bommer