San Diego outdoors: Aida, animal tracks, rugby, SUP with dogs, 1800s Old Town, waterski and wakeboard
Indoors: WWI San Diego, complete history of theater, Christopher Plummer, pickles, Van Gogh-Gaughin, Martina McBride
11:50 a.m., June 28
E.M. Lewis's play won several awards but doesn't merit one for craft. She writes scenes so short they take more time to set up than perform - and deliver scant information. The play unfolds like imitation Irene Fornes, its theme, watered-down Ernest Becker (whose Denial of Death is the seminal book on the subject). Lilly (stark, touching Robin Christ) is dying of cancer. Husband Ellery (a truly perplexed Tom Hall) can't deal with her or their son Max (Matthew Alexander in an impressive, nothing-makes-sense debut). Ellery'd rather worry about Bolivian bugs threatened with extinction. Max's high school teacher Khim (a steady Diep Huynh, though given to flat deliveries) recalls the genocide of Cambodia, while Gill (played as a corporate thug stereotype by Spencer Farmer) only waxes passionate about deforestation. Ion Theatre's production, enhanced by Claudio Raygoza's excellent musical interludes and Karin Filijan's deft lighting, wrestles this antsy play, more minimal than minimalist, to a draw. The performances recommend it, however.