Senior Eric Crouch: Absolution

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Vivian Chiang

Written by Vivian Chiang

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Photo by Miloni Vora

EE: Could you describe the plot of your play?

EC: It is set exclusively inside a confession booth in a Catholic church and the entire story is told through consistent flashback narrative in the mind of the main character you see first on stage. So it is an exploration of guilt and responsibility for the most part.

EE: Why the idea of guilt?

EC: I think as a society, we have a large tendency to step away from our own guilt and we try to distance ourselves from that. It’s important and something that comes up in the show a lot, is when we either have to learn to accept our own or accepting too much guilt and that combination as a problem in society, sometimes we try to take away culpabilities from ourselves and sometimes we end up blaming ourselves too much and so figuring out where those different moments in the main character’s life…is something that I try to let the audience decide, as well as for the other characters on stage.

EE: How did you manage to write the moments that you hadn’t completely felt?

EC: A lot of it came in the form of doing research – I spent longer hours on the internet doing things that were significantly more serious than I normally would, and I did a lot of reading to try to figure out how other authors put names and voices to these same feelings that I knew exist, but hadn’t necessarily felt myself. Probably the most difficult part was accessing bits and pieces of those emotions inside of me and letting them be on the page, and not immediately thinking that I was just making myself a character. At a certain point you have to realize that you can’t just have characters of yourself on the stage, but at the same time you have to be able to access your own emotions.

EE: What’s been the most interesting memory you’ve had while writing or directing the play?

EC: There is one line in my show wherein the main character has a moment after his client leaves, and he says “Shit. Well, alright then.” The number of times we have read that individual line and the entire cast has erupted into laughter has gone so far beyond the level of what is acceptable that it has become even funnier. If there was one quote I could leave you with from the show, Absolution, it would be, “Shit. Alright, then.”