"OBLIVION" A LESSON IN LYING AND LOYALTY

        BONNIE GOLDBERG

The definition of "oblivion," besides being a Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman science/fiction flick, refers to a state of being forgotten or blank or mentally withdrawn. What better way to describe the relationship between parents and teenage children, at least in the mind of playwright Carly Mensch in her world premiere offering "Oblivion" at the Westport Country Playhouse until Sunday, September 8.

Confrontations, lack of communication, commitment and confessions battle with logic, lying, loyalty and not listening and are all present in the battleground of one family's relationships. Dixon (Reg Rogers) and Pam (Johanna Day) pride themselves on the progressive and thoroughly modern way they are raising their daughter Julie (Katie Broad). They don't want to burden her with mundane conventions like religion. Rather they are grooming her to be independent, open-minded and free thinking.

With a lack of introspection that is alarming and more than a little troubling, the parents are lost themselves, never reflecting for even a moment into the mirror to their souls. Dixon, a corporate lawyer, has had a minor mental breakdown and has left the legal world to write the definitive novel. The fact that he medicates himself with drugs and alcohol, rarely leaves his den of comfort and writes little to nothing is overlooked by his wife Pam.

She is so busy wrapping herself in her television editing job that she has abdicated her roles at home, not cooking meals or doing laundry or attending Julie's basketball games. A crisis occurs when this "perfect" family realizes Julie has gone off for a weekend and fabricated a story about where she went. Suddenly alarm bells go off and Dixon and Pam are now detectives determined to probe their sixteen-year-old daughter for the truth.  Dixon even stoops to interrogating (think bribing) Julie's only good friend Bernard (Aiden Kunze) to discover where she was. Bernard is so involved in using Julie as the subject of the movie he is filming that he fails to see the reality about his heroine, Pauline Kael, film critic extraordinaire and submits to Dixon's grilling.

All four are victims of disillusionment and deceit, mainly to themselves, as they work their way to a path of self-discovery and honesty, under the astute direction of Mark Brokaw.

For tickets ($30 and up), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 1-888-927-7529 or online at www.westportplayhouse.org. Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

What happens when parents demand the truth and finally get it? Discover how one modern family survives with the honest answers.


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