Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W


From 47 member  reviews
Members say: Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Quirky

About the show

Soho Rep. presents the world premiere of experimental theater maker Richard Maxwell's new play, featuring an eclectic cast ranging in age from 14 to 88, including Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Steve Earle. More…

On the fringes of the frontier, a messenger embarks on an arduous journey to collect a debt from a man he’s never met. Friends set out to atone for a mistake that can’t be undone. Strangers look for a little bit of comfort wherever they can find it.

Member Reviews (47)


Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Quirky
Avg Score

Ambitious, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Slow

See it if Maxwell's quasi-last frontier (aka death) drama given an intriguing staging by Benson but fails to coalesce into anything linear (intent?)

Don't see it if Mythic themes, great soundscape & fascinating actors provide ample clues towards esistential meaning but to no avail Potent despite artiness

Slow, Overrated, Indulgent, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if You enjoy poetic pieces with minimal dialogue, conflict, or character development.

Don't see it if You can't stand esoteric, experimental pieces that don't necessarily have a traditional, linear plot structure.

Edgy, Confusing, Slow

See it if You want to see a show that may be an allegory about what you owe and are owed in life or maybe something else.

Don't see it if You would rather not leave wondering whether it made any sense at all.

Experimental, Poetic, Slow, Indulgent

See it if you enjoy experimental theater & poetic storytelling. Falls short sometimes, but everything has intention. Not as bad as other reviews say.

Don't see it if You prefer straightforward plays that don't require any thought or analysis. Still a work in progress. The seating is very uncomfortable

Daring, Bizarre, Challenging, Moving

See it if This is why I choose off-Broadway. An uncomfortable juxtaposition: insignificant as any one or two lives are, it's incumbent upon us to do.

Don't see it if ...the right things; we know what they are even when we don't want to perform them. Fine commentary on living humanely altho nature is blind

Confusing, Slow, Quirky, Talky, Anticlimactic

See it if Greek or tragic theatre interests you, you want to explore its expression in a futuristic setting, and you like long monolog and bagpipes.

Don't see it if you prefer light or comedic genre, musicals, interesting sets and music, and clear plot lines, themes and resolution.

Incomprehensible, Enigmatic

See it if poetic stream of consciousness

Don't see it if need narrative or plot

Ambitious, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow, Disappointing

See it if Can't think of anything to recommend this particular show other than it is an ambitious attempt to entertain that ultimately fails totally

Don't see it if You don't want to see something that you might only have imagined during that experimental period of your life in the 60's

Ambitious, Quirky, Different

See it if You already like the playwright (I forgot that I don't so this is my fault) - it seems consistent with his work.

Don't see it if You want a more straightforward play with more typical staging & seating (as a short person, my second-level seat was uncomfortable).

Ambitious, Clever, Confusing

See it if you like great, but very simple sets and staging; a fantastic, haunting score; and Steve Earle narrating.

Don't see it if you don't like interpretting obtuse dialogue and narration.

Disappointing, Confusing, Slow

See it if You really enjoy avant-garde work and you're more interested in the script than the performances.

Don't see it if You prefer linear plots, elements that fit together, or are looking for strong, memorable performances.

Confusing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you're interested in experiments, you don't mind or actively seek to be confused, frustrated and intrigued.

Don't see it if you need a legible narrative and soft comfy seats (though pillows on the crates were not so bad). Note that the play is 90 min, not 50.

Also While I sympathize with all the scathing reviews here I really don't t... Read more Read less


See it if you want to be confused for 80 minutes that feels like 4 hours.

Don't see it if you value your sanity

Clever, Great staging, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoyed Cormack McCarthy's novels and feel like more of the same in the experimental theater setting. Also, if you love Paul Lazar.

Don't see it if you need your theater linear, your characters true to life, and your staging traditional.

Also I can't understand why so much vitriol in the negative reviews here! S... Read more Read less

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You are looking for something abstract/different/challenging. You enjoy new kinds of music in theatre.

Don't see it if You're looking for a clear message/plot/characters/setting. You're looking for something classical or show-stopping.

Also I was incredibly bored through almost all of the piece. Steve Earle is... Read more Read less

Great staging, Excruciating, Confusing, Great tech, Inconclusive

See it if you appreciate the more technical aspects of theatre. Very interesting staging, lighting, costuming, and music.

Don't see it if you look for some sort of definitive plot line with a conclusive ending. The writing for this show could have been developed further.

Intelligent, Resonant, Challenging, Thought-provoking, Inventive staging

See it if you appreciate challenging material, poetic language, unusual staging.

Don't see it if you prefer linear narrative theatre, don't like Steve Earle or require comfortable seating.

Clever, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You're a fan of simple intelligent writing set up in an unapolegetic box.

Don't see it if You only watch with your eyes.

Also Very well written, but would have been perfect if not for some acting ... Read more Read less

Confusing, Disappointing, Banal

See it if S0 slow, boring and does not make sense.

Don't see it if You don't want to get bored.

Edgy, Clever, Quirky

See it if You support Soho Rep and enjoy innovative theatre.

Don't see it if You care about being comfortable: the WORST seating of any theater I've been in in decades.

Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if experimental plays are your cup of tea. Story is slow that makes you wonder why they didnt condense it to show more of the characters story

Don't see it if experimental plays are your cup of tea. Story is slow that makes you wonder why they didnt condense it to show more of the characters story

Delightful, Clever, Confusing, Dizzying, Funny

See it if The show used great tactics from ancient theatre and the minimalistic set was astetically pleasing. You were inside the set.

Don't see it if You do not like stories that have sub stories. Also if you do not like theatre similar to how the Greeks produced it.

Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you want to see a fairly standard Annie B. Parson dance number and a run through of the lighting cues close out this disappointing show.

Don't see it if you dont want to see how so many great artists- Maxwell, Benson, Earle, Lazar, Faudree, Frey... seem to amplify each others' weaknesses.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Intelligent

See it if You are familiar with (and a fan of) Maxwell's work. If you enjoy non-traditional staging and text that takes itself very seriously.

Don't see it if You are familiar with Maxwell's work and not a fan. You have any physical problems with sitting on uncomfortable chairs.

Also Even with Sarah Benson behind the wheel, Maxwell's work is obvious and... Read more Read less

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if You can understand what its about...

Don't see it if You want to know why it exists.

April 16th, 2017
"As is usual in recent works by Mr. Maxwell, one of the great original voices of experimental theater of the past several decades, 'Samara' seems to be situated at the corner of the everyday and eternity, where the earth meets the sky and mortality is a force of gravity...A fuller and richer work...
read more
April 17th, 2017
"With 'Samara'? Let’s just say Maxwell’s moral fable goes full Cormac McCarthy Beyond Thunderdome...Benson’s direction is daringly blunt and transparent—despite an abundance of stage effects...Structurally, 'Samara' is unpredictable, beautiful and wild: a violent quest narrative that morphs into ...
read more
April 17th, 2017
"It's a compelling space with infinite possibilities, making it all the more disappointing when the characters tasked with filling it fail to realize its potential...No one quite has an identity, nothing exactly makes sense...It's all very much in keeping with Maxwell's aversion to linear storyte...
read more
April 19th, 2017
"Some of Maxwell's fans insist that the problem is he ceded the direction...I think the actors are making a good faith attempt at conjuring the signature affectless line readings of Maxwell's productions. I can certainly say that these are some of the flattest, most stilted performances I have se...
read more

Related content