World Premier "Oblivion" Neds Work

By Karen Isaacs

World Premier Oblivion Needs Work
By Karen Isaacs

Westport Country Playhouse is presenting the world premier of a new comedy Oblivion by Carly Mensch one of the writers for Showtime's Nurse Jackie. So obviously this is a play that is a work in progress -- changes are being made to the script.

What's it about? An upper middle class New York professional couple in their late '40s find their teenage daughter rebelling against their beliefs. While that is the plot in a nutshell, there is much more. Pam, wonderfully played by Johanna Day is the mom -- a harried producer for HBO who once was a documentary film maker. She is relentlessly secular. Dixon, her husband is a corporate lawyer who has abandoned his job due to a nervous breakdown and sits home all day supposedly writing a novel but in reality smoking pot. Julie their athletic high school age daughter has few friends except for Bernard, a Korean -American student with a passion for film making and the film critic Pauline Kael.

The conflict is that Julie has become attractive to Bernard's Baptist religion much to her mother's consternation. And obviously Reg's inactivity is also causing strains on the marriage and the family's relationships.

But this play is about so much more -- there are long discussions about religion and belief, about lying - since the family seems to all be living lies -- and the rebellion and naïvete of youth..

The playwright said that Oblivion is a young person's play because it is fueled by restless energy and hopeful yearning and it asks questions you're only supposed to ask when smoking pot in a college dorm room.

Director Mark Brokaw and the entire cast -- including Katie Broad as the daughter and Aidan Kumze as her friend, bring the characters to life.

While this play needs work -- there is something of value in it. Any parent and anyone who remembers their own late teen years will see themselves in some aspect of the play.

Oblivion is at Westport Country Playhouse through September 8.

This review aired on WNHU 88.7 fm and www.wnhu.net


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