SALT LAKE CITY — In Small Box With a Revolver, Sam and Gene are strangers who do not why or how they have woken up in a locked room with nothing but a small box. Their budding friendship takes an unfortunate turn when they discover the box contains a revolver. In a clear homage to Samuel Beckett‘s absurdist dramas like Waiting for Godot, playwright Dustin Hageland uses his two strangers to examine the absurdity and beauty of life and friendship that everyone has experienced in the last few soul-trying years.

Show closes August 7, 2022.

The performances, self-directed, by David Knoell and Stephanie Stroud as Sam and Gene, respectively, are executed with flawless and breathless composure. Here are two kind and decent everyman types who want only to do what is right in a world where there are no right options. As orders from “the Superiors” are scant, the two characters work as hard as they can to determine their best course of action. Gene, a lover of books, shares helpful stories from mythology while Sam, an accountant, uses logic and reason as they make their choices. To reveal much more about the plot would spoil the terror and delight of what happens in this short play, but I found myself on the edge of my seat and covering my eyes throughout Small Box With a Revolver.

The DK Theatrical production of Small Box With a Revolver plays as part of the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival at various times through August 7. For ticketing and venue information, visit

These reviews are made possible by a grant from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks program.