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Theatre Review: Oblivion


Forty-something parents Pam and Dixon are affluent, educated New York professionals, they’ve sent their teenage daughter Julie on a weekend visit to a prominent college. But when Julie returns, her account of the trip seems more than a little sketchy. Mom senses that her daughter’s hiding something. And in a flash, the accusations flare.

Julie: I don’t know, OK, I don’t understand why this is such a big deal. It’s like you guys suddenly turned into the Gestapo. You gave me permission to go away this weekend. I went, I came back. So what’s the big deal?

Pam: The big deal is that you lied to us.

Julie: I didn’t!

Pam: Alright, I give up.

These parents view themselves as tolerant and enlightened. But when it becomes clear that Julie actually tagged along with a classmate on a prayer retreat, Mom freaks out. Truth be told, she would have preferred that her daughter had gone to a wild party.

Pam: Julie is clearly under the impression that we have no moral standards, so she is in need of some parameters.

Dixon: I thought that we were never going to be like that, parents with rules.

Pam: She lied to us to our faces.

Dixon: Everybody lies. I lie, you lie, everybody does.

Pam: I do not lie.

Dixon: You’ve definitely lied to me!

Pam: I have never lied to you

Dixon: Not like Machiavellian deception.

Pam: No! Never!

It quickly becomes clear that these parents have difficulty being honest in assessing their own lives, which has taken a toll on their marriage, their careers, and their daughter. And this play, which began as a nimble spoof of modern ethics (or lack thereof), turns more serious in the second act. The transition from comedy into drama doesn’t entirely pan out, but there are enough thought-provoking scenes between the uncertain parents and their almost-independent kid to make for an interesting evening.

"Oblivion" continues at the B Street Theatre through April 19th.

 theatreB Street Theatre

Jeff Hudson

Contributing Arts Reporter and Theatre Critic

Jeff Hudson has been contributing arts-related stories to Capital Public Radio since 1995, with an emphasis on theater and classical music. He attends over 100 performances annually, ranging from modern musicals to medieval masses.   Read Full Bio 

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