REVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

In The Wake

By Lisa Kron.

Directed by Alex Mallory.

Produced by the-comrades.

At the Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago.

Complex, wordy drama tries to do too much and falls flat.

Playwright Lisa Kron wrote the book for Fun Home, the 2015 Tony winning musical. Her 2010 play, In The Wake is now showing at the Greenhouse Theatre. Despite several fine performances, particularly Rose Sengenberger as  Ellen, the play tries to cover too much. The state of national presidential politics from 200 through 2005; lesbian relationships, and a complex character, Ellen, who searches for personal identify. Long political speeches including several asides directly to the audience and complex diatribes with loads of ‘playwright speak’ dooms this play.

It seems that playwright Lisa Kron tries to write several plays here. The result is a long-winded bore! For 2 and a half hours we are stuck with Ellen reciting the liberal political agenda without many rebuttals until Kelli Walker’s Judy retorts with a cynical unhopeful look at the state of the American dream. Kron even creates a character with homophobic beliefs that leads to another lecture. In the interest of clarity, pick one idea and develop that.

Kron’s characters don’t seem real, but only around to move her agenda. When you overwhelm audiences with too many ideas, throw-in loads of politics,  put the lead character in a contriductory relationship delimna, we besome irritated. I felt manipulated, became confused, and ultimately unsatisfied with this work.  Ellen’s blind spot became Kron’s since she didn’t realize that she grossly overwrote In The Wake. It sure was a long 2 hous and 30 minutes.

Not Recommended.

Tom Williams.

At the Greenhouse Theatre, 2275 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL, call 773-404-7336,, tickets $15 – $20, Thursdays thru Sundays at 8 pm, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission.