Sneak Peek–Absolution

This was my shot at the Pinters and Pirandellos of the world.  My first “non-realistic” play, and the first that was successfully  produced in New York by a comedy troupe that just killed it.  Also a very good reading at Creative Theater/Muddy Waters Players with Pettiplays alum Peter Dawson.  Have a good weekend. 

Absolution

By Brian C. Petti

PO Box 361

East Durham, NY 12423

(518) 239-6267

bcpkid@gmail.com

Copyright 2008 © by Brian C. Petti 

ACT I, scene 1

 

The stage is set to resemble a bare, efficient office, the “Office of Absolution”. There is a door upstage left and another upstage right. The upstage left door leads to an offstage waiting room, and above it hangs a single, unlighted bulb. There is a large desk right of center, stationed in front of a banner that reads “Happiness Equals Productivity”, with the official seal of the Office of Absolution. There is an office chair behind the desk and another stage left of it. The desk itself is adorned with various primary colored folders, along with a tea kettle and a rotary phone. File cabinets line the upstage wall, also housing rows of primary colored folders—in fact the entire room is composed of blue, red, green, yellow or orange. The lights rise to reveal CENTRAL, a bespectacled man in his mid-forties, sitting behind the desk. He is dressed in a dark blue suit with matching tie and suspenders. His manner is unerringly calm and zealously ingratiating, even when confronted. In the other chair is CITIZEN, who is in his late thirties and is visibly nervous. He is dressed completely in off-white, suggestive of a uniform of some kind. CENTRAL’s opening speech is well-rehearsed, and designed to alleviate CITIZEN’s apprehension.

Central

 

We at Central are here to help, to protect, to enlighten. We are committed to providing well-being, alleviating neurosis and providing for the harmonious existence of our citizenry. No sin is too great to be expunged, no fear too frightening to be assuaged, no outrage too outrageous to be understood. This Office of Absolution and all its denizens wish to keep you content, innocent, and above all happy. Hence our motto, which we ask you to repeat with us…

Central and Citizen

 

Happiness Equals Productivity”.

Central

 

What can we do for you today?

Citizen

 

We’re starting already? Don’t you want my name?

Central

 

It’s not necessary. We are all equal members of Central.

Citizen

 

You keep records, don’t you?

Central

 

Certainly, certainly. Very accurate records indeed. But you need not identify yourself other than as a Citizen.

Citizen

 

That’s very kind of you.

Central

 

We know.

Citizen

I…I’ve never been here before.

Central

 

Yes, we are aware of that.

Citizen

 

I don’t quite know how to go about this.

Central

 

That’s understandable.

Citizen

 

You will help me, won’t you?

Central

 

Of course.

Citizen

(pause) So…what should I say?
Central

 

Whatever it is you came here to say.

Citizen

 

Just like that?

Central

 

Yes.

Citizen

 

You’re not going to write this down, are you?

Central

 

We will make a full notation after you are gone. Right now you have our full attention.

Citizen

 

(with effort) I don’t know if I can…it’s so horrible…what I’ve…I

Central

Would you like some tea?

Citizen

 

Tea?

Central

 

Yes, it’s very calming. Weak tea acts as an alkali. Cancels out the acids in the stomach, you see.

Citizen

 

I wasn’t aware of that.

Central

 

It’s scientifically proven. Who would have thought that a cup of tea would have such a curative effect?

Citizen

 

Not me.

Central

 

Makes you feel a little less fretful about the world, doesn’t it?

Citizen

 

What?

Central

 

Tea.

Citizen

 

Oh. Yes, I suppose. (pause) Should I…

Central

 

By all means.

Citizen

 

Where was I?

Central

 

To the best of my knowledge you never left your seat.

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