Sam and Carol: A Play Where Everything Is True (review)

Sam and Carol: A Play Where Everything Is True (review)
Sam and Carol: A Play Where Everything Is True (review)
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THE PLAY: This is a string of monologues featuring pivotal characters in the lives of playwright David L. Robbins’ parents. They describe the titular duo from their first encounter to their final moments.


THE PRODUCTION: Having only 2 actors requires solid professionals with comprehensive skills. This duo delivers with a panoply of character creations. Eva DeVirgillis brings the delightful charm and energy of her oversize personalities with every appearance. Nicklas Aliff gets saddled with the more intense and less enjoyable men, but still manages to inhabit each one with force. Director Jan Powell has ably staged the show in the round with shades of gray to suggest a black & white world. Ron Keller’s set is a minimalist platform with a chair and table, so Roger Price’s sound design and BJ Wilkinson’s lighting reinforce the environments.


THE POINT: Robbins concept is clever, but the play dances around the periphery of the central characters. It lacks human interaction and is more a theatrical showcase than a human experience.


3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)


A Henley Street Theatre & Richmond Shakespeare production at the Gottwald Playhouse thru 4/25


  1. It is a series of dialogues not monologues, and is a mosaic of human interaction and human experience in what we reference as the greatest generation. The dialogues illustrate moments we all recognize, and moments of humor that we all know. I saw the play Saturday night. The crowd laughed, I even noticed some cry. There was no shortage of conversation at our coffee table afterwards. I highly recommend it.

  2. When TV Jerry writes that the play dances around the central characters, he displays that he may have been the only person in performance I attended who missed the core of the work and was left unmoved by it. Sam and Carol are definitely, clearly, achingly not the central characters. The play weaves a detailed image of them out of small vignettes, shooting across the years of their marriage, wars, homes, families, friends, jobs, even the fleeting impacts they had on people who did no more than cross their paths. But Sam and Carol are not in the play save for a glimpse at the end. The work is about so much more than the two of them, but concerns the many things they represent; in that way the play is, in an odd and inventive fashion, almost epic. TV Jerry seems locked into a one-size fits all view of theater – he wants his traditional format, his main characters. But is a puzzle the same as a photograph? In the end, is a puzzle about the final image, or the process and pieces that assemble it? To say the play lacks human interaction is to demonstrate that TV Jerry ought best stick to reviewing established plays; assessing new works requires skills, empathies and an eye he clearly does not have. Sam and Carol is resonant, and deeply moving, and will remind you of your own family. Your own crazy family. What’s more human and interactive than that? THE POINT of TV Jerry’s review? 1.5.

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