Robert Anthony Playwright
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Sam's Table

A Full-Length Play Consisting of 2 Acts with a Cast of 17

Full Synopsis

A senior citizens center in Greenwich Village, New York City, is the setting for this play, where members of the center gather daily for lunch, social contact, and a few laughs, with the basic realities of coping with the aging process offering a window into the immeasurable depths of the human heart.

The play revolves around a retired professor, Sam Marks, who is afflicted with alzheimer's disease. Sam routinely stops in for lunch and sits near the door at his usual table, accompanied by his wife and nurse. Although Sam's wife, Helen, loves her husband and shows her affection for him, she is generally disliked since she is constantly complaining about how the center operates. She is tolerated by Tim and Nathan because they like being with Sam. They are also fond of Hollywood Jill and tease her about making a comeback film since she once worked in Hollywood. They have enlisted Rip, the Chairman of the Entertainment Committee, to be the director. When Jill learns of this she goes along with the gag. They tell her they think the transvestite, Rex, will be able to play two roles. Rex is currently being chased by Mimi, one of the more dramatic members of the center. She loves prancing among the tables presenting her own personal opera. Rip says he will not use Mimi because she will not take direction.

But the focus of the play remains on Sam. He is not able to respond in a normal way when friends stop by to say hello. He is only able to mutter a few words or some phrase that still hangs in his memory. The center slowly fills and becomes a beehive of activity as the members wait to be served lunch cafeteria style. They do their best to get along with each other and when someone wants to perform, as they sometimes do, they have a captive audience. Some members are quiet and well behaved; others can be loud and troublesome. Linda, the center's young director, has a busy job keeping order when tempers flare.

As the play progresses there is a scene going back in time in which Sam is in the classroom answering questions from his students. He has told them he would like to drop the usual neuroscience lecture and allow them to ask any question on any subject. In this scene Sam uses the audience for students, with the questions coming from recordings offstage. There are a great many questions and Sam, often laughing, answers them. It is during this scene that signs of Sam's illness first appear. Back to the present we soon learn that Sam has died. In the final scene Tim meets Helen for the first time since Sam's death. She has something to give him: Sam's raincoat. Tim puts it on and delivers a short monologue that ends the play.

Cast of Characters for Sam's Table

NATHAN Bit of an oddball; politically-minded; voracious reader; tendency to speak in a loud, halting manner.
TIM Still youngish in appearance for his age; strong interest in the arts; enjoys writing; good sense of humor.
SAM MARKS Retired; highly-respected physics professor; afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.
HELEN MARKS Sam's devoted wife; somewhat overbearing; snobbish; finds it necessary to criticize anything in her path.
LORETTA Sam's black aide, attractive; sweet-natured; quiet.
HOLLYWOOD JILL Vibrant, if a bit naughty personality; fun-loving; has history of having made movies in Hollywood.
RIP A real jokester; makes silly remarks with a twinkle in his eye; secretive past; involved in the politics of the center.
HENRY Very friendly; generous; well liked by all; enjoys films and the theater.
SCOTT Intellectual; artistic; somewhat effeminate; wacky sense of humor.
MIMI Highly dramatic personality; a chronic performer; man-chaser; a decent soul with a hint of vulgarity.
REX/TRIXIE Talented artisan; tall, lanky transvestite; very much the night owl; has strained relationship with Mimi.
JEROME Tall black man; strong sense of himself and his activities; mildly deranged; quick to explode.
LARRY Easy-going quiet man; pleasant and rational.
NASTY NELL Crabby old lady; always complaining; disliked by many.
ROSE Nell's friend.
MARIE Rose's friend.
LINDA The center's director; overweight; can be unfriendly; feigns cheerfulness; does her best to cope with her job.
* And various other members who frequent the center.