Too often "children's theater" is synonymous with slapstick, farce and a general pandering to a younger audience. But Carol North, artistic director of Metro Theater Company, is motivated by the heretical notion that children like to think. Once again this year, Metro linked up with Washington University's Edison Theatre to stage a production that, although geared to a younger audience, was told with total professionalism. Lois Lowry's popular 1993 science-fiction novel The Giver asks probing questions about the dangers of individuality in a world of sameness, and the production, beginning with a succinct adaptation by playwright Eric Coble, approached the material with insight. Who could have known, when The Giver was so artfully staged in January, that it would pose the same questions about the journey from childhood to adulthood that would frame Terrence Malick's much-discussed 2011 film The Tree of Life?