The American premiere of Absolution, a hit play in London two years ago, will take place Mar. 4 at the Court Theatre. Robert William Sherwood's psychological thriller is directed by Willard Carroll, writer-director of the feature film "Playing By Heart," now in national release by Miramax. The lighting design is by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond ("Close Encounters of the Third Kind"), recipient of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers.
Carroll decided to bring Absolution to Los Angeles after he saw the play at London's Battersea Art Center, where it had a long run. The London Times said "Sherwood's play moves beyond its sensational material to a series of delicately crafted encounters that have the sort of mythic quality of a big-screen showdown."
The Guardian said that "Sherwood's terrifyingly cruel appraisement of murder, memory and machismo is a class act...it's Agatha Christie with a philosophy."
Absolution earned Canadian-born Sherwood a nomination from the Writer's Guild of Great Britain for Best Fringe Play of 1997.
"In the play, Robert has much to say about where we are as a society and how, as individuals, we grapple for a position in it," said Carroll in a statement. "The terrible secret at the center of the play ultimately pulls the three male characters into an intensely dramatic battle that touches on many issues of masculinity, faith, repentance and some fairly controversial concepts about right and wrong." In the cast are Matt Letscher, Christian J. Meoli, Elizabeth Mitchell, Jennifer Rubin and Jonathan Scarfe.
The Court Theatre is at 722 N. La Cienaga Blvd. Call (310) 289-2999. Closing date is Apr. 11.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent