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19 Feb

Never on a Wednesday: Richard A Via

'Never on a Wednesday’ by Richard A Via is a depiction of a single incident that takes place in an average American family. The action takes place in a living room .Dad is reading evening newspaper sitting in a chair to the right of a lamp table. Dorothy, his 16 year old daughter, is manicuring her fingernails. The younger son Tom, aged 14, is seated on a table attempting to study. The eldest son Fred is stretched out on the sofa reading a comic book. Mother is off stage in the kitchen.

There is a quiet scene for a while even after the curtain rises. Then the phone rings in the hall and both Dorothy and Fred react quickly .Both jump to answer it but Fred is quicker. Fred thinks that it is his girl friend and Dot thinks it is her boy friend. Fred returns after the call and asks Dad’s permission to use the car that night. Dad refuses him permission and refuses to talk much .He tries to correct his grammatical mistakes .Fred is annoyed. Dot speaks about generation gap. He tries to get Dad to listen to him but fails. He again repeats the request. Mother asks him why he couldn’t use the car. Dad reminds her it is Wednesday. Children are allowed to use the car only on weekends. He reminds her that a rule is a rule. He would not give him permission to use the car even if he has a very special reason for doing so.

Tom and Dot think that he is asking for the car to take his girl friend to a drive –in movie with the new girl. Fred tells his mother he is asking for the car to take his girl friend on a date. He says his intention to use the car is a secret. Then he announces that he will take a taxi. Dad reminds him that taxi would be very expensive. Finally Fred lets out the secret and tells everyone that their grandma was at the station. He had promised to pick her up when she offered to come home in a taxi. Everyone is excited. Both Dot and Tom offer to accompany him to the station. Mother is unhappy that the visit was unannounced. However she cleans up the place to receive her.

The play has interesting moments with the cute comments that Tom and Dot make. It has ring of childhood memories, dull home work and kitchen work. It throws light on pointless discipline that parents sometimes enforce. The final twist in the play adds to its beauty.

Courtesy: Prof Pius Ozhakal

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