TheatreLAB’s ‘Oblivion’ turns the parent-teen struggle on its head this weekend
It’s a story many of us have struggled with personally – our secret rendezvous out in the night and concerned parents prying to find out where we’ve been.
TheatreLAB’s newest production, Oblivion, takes this theme and turns it on its head when the play opens in The Basement this weekend.
Oblivion, written by Carly Mensch (Weeds, Nurse Jackie) follows young Julie (Zoe Cotzias) as she gets caught after sneaking out over the weekend. Her hip, liberal and progressive parents, Pam (Kimberly Jones Clark) and Dixon (Joe Pabst), let lose on her asking where she’s been and insisting ‘if you’ve been drinking, we just want to know you’re being safe!’
Turns out Julie spent the weekend at a church camp.
Cue the chaos as the Brooklynite parents struggle with the possibility of their daughter finding God.
“The parents pride themselves on being the ‘cool parents,’” said TheatreLAB’s Managing Director Annie Colpitts. “They’re really open and loving, but when the topic of religion comes up, and they’re not religious people, everything falls apart. They say she’s being brainwashed, coopted.”
This reversal of how you’d imagine this story playing out is what first attracted Colpitts and the TheatreLAB crew to the script many months ago.
Colpitts said their production will be only the third of fourth time the play has been presented on a stage anywhere, and the play’s writer, Mensch had created a great script. ”It’s really exciting… [the play] is quippy and funny,” said Colpitts.
Oblivion’s play on religion fits nicely into the Richmond theatre community’s Acts of Faith festival, a series of plays dealing with spirituality in peoples lives. This new production, in Colpitts’ eyes, alines perfectly with the festival’s values.
“The theater audience is pretty liberal minded, but one of the great things about the Acts of Faith festival is it brings in church goers, not just theatre goers,” said Colpitts. “The fact that we’re combining those audiences – people who could be supporting Julie’s exploration into religion, with people who might sympathize with her parents concern… [it encourages] that kind of conversation with our audience. And it’s one of our favorite things about the Acts of Faith festival.”
Modern moral struggles abound in this new production, but Jeff Cole, Oblivion’s Director, stress the play doesn’t focus on any one faith, but rather draws upon all the concepts involved in the Acts of Faith festival: religious, spiritual, cultural, family, self…
“Oblivion sets itself apart by collecting all of these models under a single umbrella,” Cole said in a statement sent out ahead of the play’s opening weekend. “I’m excited to show these characters as human beings who are complex and layered, unable to be defined by simple categories or labels. They make mistakes, they suffer, they are proud, they evolve, and – ultimately – live with the decisions they make.”
You too can witness Julie’s (and her parents’!) struggle when Oblivion opens this weekend.
Oblivion runs select dates from February 20th through March 7th in The Basement at 300 E. Broad Street, in the heart of the Art’s District in Downtown Richmond. Ticket prices range from $15-30.
More information about the show and a full production schedule is available at theatreLABrva.org
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