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A Lesbian Angels in America

June 3, 2010

wake.jpegWith her new drama In the Wake at Berkeley Repertory Theater, playwright Lis Kron has attempted to write a work of the magnitude and scope of Angels in America. I wonder if the theatre's artistic director, Tony Taccone, encouraged this as one of the original producers of Tony Kushner's seminal drama?

The play, which takes place in the George W Bush years and revolves around a thirty-something "thought leader" whose passion about the politics of the tax system rivals her passionate personal life, is dense, sprawling and multi-faceted.

I love the way in which Kron, just like Kushner before her, tackles together the personal and the political and shows how inextricably linked they are.

It's also about an hour too long and the playwright has difficulty maintaining the plot and the characters' trajectories. We never really find out what the central character Ellen does for a living or what motivates her to travel to Boston to visit Amy, a woman whom she vaguely knows but ends up falling in love with.

In the Wake is a sort of lesbian Angels in America, really. Only less expertly handled. It's still worth seeing though, because the performances are great, the pacing is lively and the play, as messy as it is, makes a bold move by tackling a part of American history that happened, really, just yesterday.

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