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Contemporary new work explores wake of personal destruction Maria Patrice Amon | Fri, Feb 24 2012 02:36 PM

The contemporary new work “In the Wake” examines the wake of destruction left behind a young woman as she explores her desires. Playwright Lisa Korn crafted the story of Ellen, a freelance writer and political junkie living in Washington DC, spanning the infamous presidential election of 2000 to the present. Ellen and her boyfriend Danny share a tight social circle of loving friends and family.

On one of her many conference trips Ellen meets an old high school acquaintance, Amy, and starts a romantic relationship. Danny is patient and knowingly lets Ellen have a girlfriend on the side, but as Ellen repeatedly says, “the configuration cannot be sustained.” Ellen breaks it off with Amy but her relationship with Danny cannot stand her damage.

As Ellen, Aubrey Saverino has a rich voice and manic energy that sustains the tour-de-force performance. Saverino is compassionate toward a character with little redeeming qualities. Ellen is hurtful and blindly self-centered, but Saverino does not make Ellen intentionally cruel and thus attempts to infuse her character with a sense of sympathy.

The ensemble of actors creates a unique sense of authentic family that is truly lovely to watch. The play begins with cutesy chemistry as characters throw witty zingers back and forth with the familiarity of long-time friends. Yet this sensation cannot stand the force of Ellen’s wake.

The political and human drama of “In the Wake” is playing now through March 4 at the Lyceum space in Horton Plaza, downtown San Diego. Shows are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets range from $32 to $51, with $18 student discount tickets, and are available at the Lyceum Theatre box office by calling 544-1000 or online at www.sdrep.org.

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