Petti, Brian C. (American playwright, 1969-____), “Absolution,”
a 35-minute absurdist drama in three scenes in English, set in a mythical office, in the future,
• © 1999 by Brian C. Petti; • script/rights available from Brian C. Petti, 16 East Parmenter Street, Newburgh, New York 12550, U.S.A., e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone (home) 845-568-0775. • Cited by Brian C. Petti, via e-mail April 26, 2001; Petti says,
§ Dramatis Personae Central (m), 45, an official in the mythical “Office of Absolution,” officious, precise, unerringlypleasant and solicitous; Citizen (m), 35, confused, nervous, guilty, seeking absolution for an unnamed crime.
§ Synopsis “Citizen begins to relate his unnamed crime, but is told by Central that there is no need; a simple matter of filling out the correct paperwork will suffice for complete forgiveness. Citizen finds this hard to believe and a bit of a disappointment; he is pleasantly shown the door as the bulb above the door lights up, signaling the next person to be absolved. Strangely, the light stops burning when Central leaves. One month later, Citizen shows up at the office once again, haunted and dishevelled. Central is not much better—the office is in utter disarray. Citizen complains that the absolution did not work, that he still feels horribly guilty for what he has done. Central barely hears him, explaining that the office has been a shambles since the light went out, decreasing productivity. At the end of his rope and angry at the system Central personifies, Citizen announces that it was he who pulled the plug on the light. This, apparently, is a crime that cannot be exonerated. Citizen begs for forgiveness, but Central offers none. Citizen finally throws over Central’s desk, threatens Central with a chair and forces him to hear his true crime. Three weeks later, Citizen has joined Central as his assistant. He changes the light bulb over the door.
§ Comment “The three scenes use one set, the ‘Office of Absolution,’ with many neatly ordered, multi-colored folders adorning a desk. A bare lightbulb is over the entrance. The office needs to be distressed after the first scene, retuning to neat efficiency after the second scene. • ‘Absolution’ had a staged reading at Creative Theatre, in Monroe, New York, U.S.A., and will appear in an electronic magazine, Pacific Review, in California, U.S.A.”
absolution, absurdity of corporate efficiency, crime, forgiveness, office,
paperwork, society’s easy forgiveness.
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