Aug 14, 2013
01:52 PM
Arts & Entertainment

Producer of Showtime's 'Weeds' Brings 'Oblivion' to Westport Playhouse

Producer of Showtime's 'Weeds' Brings 'Oblivion' to Westport Playhouse

Reggi Mensch

Carly Mensch

      The Westport Country Playhouse presents the world premiere of Oblivion by Carly Mensch Aug. 20 through Sept. 7. Mark Brokaw will direct the play, which was first commissioned by Playwrights Horizons and developed by Chicago’s acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

       In a recent conversation with Mensch (also co-producer and writer of Showtime’s “Weeds”), she shared some insight about the play, and also about herself:

      “I write serious plays with a comic voice—less tongue-stuck-to-a-frozen-flagpole Dumb & Dumber type humor, and more Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, where humor is part of the fabric of how the characters talk and relate to one another," she says. "There's a secret lurking at the heart of this play. I can say this much: it starts with a lie—a teenager lies to her parents about where she’s been all weekend—and this lie sends them into a tailspin.”

      The story follows a modern-day family headed by Pam and Dixon, a couple of Brooklyn hipsters who pride themselves on their broad-minded parenting style. But their moral compass is tested when their 17-year-old daughter repeatedly lies about where she’s been all weekend, and they lose their cool. “Pam is put in sort of a crucible, forced to either accept or reject her daughter’s life choices,” says Mensch. “And I think she has limits she didn’t know she had. I’d love for audiences to leave questioning their own limits, asking themselves whether they’re as open-minded as they think.”

      She credits late novelist David Foster Wallace as an influence on her work. “He tapped into a lot of generational themes and wrote in a style that felt fittingly electric, like his writing was keeping up with the pace of the times, but buoyed by an old-fashioned concern for moral questions,” she says. “In fact, one of the play’s characters, Bernard, has an artist crush on the film critic Pauline Kael, which is a stand-in for my geek love for David Foster Wallace.”

      And writing “Weeds” has helped her as a playwright, too. “TV has made it easier for my brain to identify what works better on a stage and what works better in extreme close up,” she says. Also, I feel the need to give Connecticut a shout-out. “Weeds” final season was set in the fictional Connecticut town of Old Sandwich. We even had a fictional newspaper called the Old Sandwich Press!”

      Having grown up in nearby Westchester, Mensch says a Connecticut world premiere is something like a homecoming. “I will most definitely be there on opening night as will my entire family. And maybe my second-grade teacher.”
      For tickets and further information, call (203) 227-4177 or (888) 927-7529, or visit westportplayhouse.org.
Producer of Showtime's 'Weeds' Brings 'Oblivion' to Westport Playhouse

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