Themes and Meanings

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

SubUrbia is a nihilistic play that in some particulars is reminiscent of Clifford Odets’s Waiting for Lefty (pr., pb. 1935), John Paul Sartre’s Huis clos (pr. 1944, pb. 1945; In Camera, 1946; better known as No Exit, 1947), or Samuel Beckett’s En attendant Godot (pb. 1952, pr. 1953; Waiting for Godot, 1954). The Nietzschean theme of eternal recurrence pervades this play. The five high school buddies—Pony excluded—live drab, hopeless existences, despite their unrealistic dreams of what they might become. For them, each day is like its predecessor. Bogosian uses Pony not to suggest what any of the others might achieve but to emphasize what they have not achieved and are unlikely to achieve.

This thematic thread is strengthened by Norman, who has realistic plans, a well-defined notion of where he wants to go and of how he expects to get there. He is by no means an admirable character. His racist views are repugnant. He is, however, motivated and will likely achieve his ends, the reward for which, as he clearly states, will be material, notably a house with a swimming pool. One can admire his resourcefulness, which has resulted in his owning the 7-Eleven.

Pony’s publicist, Erica, whom David Richards describes as “California cool and Bel Air spoiled,” is not much better than the drifters in the parking lot, but she has had advantages that have propelled her into her...

(The entire section is 441 words.)