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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
See it if poetic stream of consciousness
Don't see it if need narrative or plot
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
"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, reflecting welcome new directions that its author has been pursuing of late...This impeccably realized show gives us story and subtext in one breath."
"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 mythic poetry then pure audio and visual stimuli. Even after following his work for 20 years, I’m still shocked anew by Maxwell’s broken worlds."
"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 storytelling, but it doesn't change the fact that with no clear through line nor tonal consistency among any of the performances, the experience of 'Samara' is one of being upstream without a paddle."
"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 seen since maybe forever...Something tells me that even his hardest-core fans will find this to be something of a trial. You can only strip away so many fundamentals of drama before there is nothing left."
“The play seems to be in the genre of the classic Western movie though highly poeticized and slow-paced. It resembles the 60's films of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah but with much less plot and without the scenic vistas. It follows the rules of the old West but creates a mysterious world of its own. Very little is revealed by the characters, most of whose names are generic. Much could be read into the events but they remain opaque and obscure as do the characters who reveal little.”
"Maxwell has written a series of gorgeous monologues that would delight anyone who appreciates the playwright’s poetic language...Unfortunately, the play lacks a strong focus. The narrative doesn’t have much complexity...The play’s lack of focus is somewhat salvaged by Benson’s direction: she does a splendid job bringing out the beauty of the script, and making use of every inch of the space...With a clearer theme and a stronger narrative, 'Samara' has the potential to soar."
"Speaking as someone who has, in the past, found rewards in grappling with the complexities and provocations Maxwell sets out, this play felt frustratingly opaque and, at times, unfocused...By the time it's all said and done, the line between poetry and pretension has become dangerously hazy...There's an inherently anti-theatrical essence in his work that feels constantly at odds with the more dramatic staging that we're offered here."
"A daring piece that both questions and confirms life as we know it. With a diverse and talented group of actors, and a script that's breathtaking in its use of language, there's a lot to love in this production, and certainly a lot to think about…More like an extended poem than a traditional piece of theater…While I know for a fact that I didn't grasp every nuance in the play, I know that I won't easily forget the experience of watching 'Samara.'"