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.