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In the Wake 

When: June 1-27 2010
Price: $16.50-$71

Though the Red State/Blue State debates run a bit long in Lisa Kron's new drama, they still convey something about the characters involved. Kron has a knack for writing naturalistic dialogue. She allows characters to repeatedly cross-examine each other at the dinner table (or, in this case, on the couch), react to news events on their television screens, and question each other's perceptions. Her script is less important, line-for-line, than the big issues it tries to tackle and the characters it produces. Ellen is the wobbly moral compass of this play, and actress Heidi Schreck plays her like a young Meryl Streep. Carson Elrod provides all the banter as Ellen's unappreciated boyfriend, Danny. The couple lives in a cluttered Manhattan apartment -- expertly designed by David Korins -- cohabited by their middle-aged roommate Judy (the amazing Deirdre O'Connell). Danny's sister Kayla (Andrea Frankle) lives in the same building with her wife. Kron's emphasis on alternative family structure makes this play contemporary, even if her 9/11 references tie it to a very specific moment in time. Leigh Silverman directs. In the Wake runs through June 27 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley). $16.50-$71.

— Rachel Swan


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