Johanna Day & Reg Rogers Lead World Premiere of OBLIVION at Westport Country Playhouse, Beg. Tonight
Westport Country Playhouse will stage the World Premiere of "Oblivion," a provocative new play about parents and teenagers, and the gulf that often exists between them, by Carly Mensch, writer for Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" and "Weeds," and directed by Mark Brokaw, currently represented on Broadway with "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella." The coming-of-age comedy-drama runs from tonight, August 20 through September 8.
The Playhouse's second world premiere in as many seasons, "Oblivion" was commissioned by New York's Playwrights Horizons and received a developmental workshop at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company in late 2011. Now it's being given its first professional, fully staged production under the guidance of a director with considerable experience with new work.
"'Oblivion' is a stunning, thoughtful, gripping, and even funny play about a teenage girl, her best friend, and her two parents," said Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse's artistic director. "It's about the attempts by parents to come to grips with who their children really are as they grow up and begin to explore worlds over which the parents have zero control. It's one of the smartest plays I've come across in a long time, and it will move you and make you think. I'm thrilled to have director Mark Brokaw bringing this important new play to life on our stage."
Over its 83 seasons, The Playhouse has staged many World Premieres that have gone on to further success. Last season, "Harbor" by Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin premiered at The Playhouse, directed by Lamos. It is currently playing at New York's Primary Stages, again helmed by Lamos. In the past, "Butterflies Are Free" by Leonard Gershe premiered at The Playhouse, as did new works by Noel Coward, William Inge, A. R. Gurney, Billy Porter, and others.
"Oblivion," set in Brooklyn's Park Slope, tells of Pam and Dixon, who take pride in their progressive approach to parenting their 16-year-old daughter Julie. When Julie won't come clean to them about where she spent the past weekend, their open-mindedness crumbles. What could she possibly be hiding? Whatever the parents imagine, nothing can prepare them for the actual truth. The play looks at the surprising choices teenagers make---and the people they disappoint---when they forge their own way in life.
"I wanted to write a play about lying," said Carly Mensch, playwright. "I also wanted to write a play about the difficulty of parenting in the modern age."
Mensch added, "I would hope that audience members leave questioning their own blind spots and prejudices, and examining whether they think they're as open-minded as they say they are."
The play is appropriate for ages 13 and up due to some adult situations and language. Post-show salons open to the audience for discussion of the play will follow selected performances.
The "Oblivion" cast includes Katie Broad (New York's "Stop the Virgens," "The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side," "A Midsummer Night's Dream") as Julie; JohAnna Day (Broadway's "Proof" - Tony and Lucille Lortel awards noms.; regional theater's "The Rainmaker" - Helen Hayes Award; "The Realistic Joneses" - Connecticut Critics Circle Award) as Pam; Aidan Kunze (New York's Barefoot Theatre, City Lights Youth Theater, Kidz Theater, and films "Rage," "Raising Helen") as Bernard; and Reg Rogers (Broadway's "The Royal Family" - Outer Critics Circle nom., "Holiday" - Tony and Drama Desk noms., Off-Broadway's "The Dazzle" - Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards) as Dixon.