The Few by Samuel D. Hunter begins in the unsure days of 1999. Many people were terrified by Y2K, believing the world might collapse. Amid this turmoil, Bryan returns to a trailer in Northern Idaho after four years absence. In that trailer is his former girlfriend, QZ who has turned their newspaper, “The Few” into a major personal column for truckers. This conceit provides the framework for an impassioned, thought-provoking, and at many junctures hilarious play.
The paper that they had begun with their friend Jim was originally dedicated to columns and essays that helped truckers realize that they are not alone, that someone is out there and cares. It became a meeting place for truckers to get together and interface with other human beings who shared their experiences. It was a labor of love for the trio who felt they made the difference.
Four years ago, Bryan left abruptly after the death of Jim, abandoning QZ to try and make the paper fiscally successful. She realizes that its greatest draw is the personal columns. To keep the paper alive, she concentrates on that which changes the paper significantly. She takes on Jim’s nephew to help. Matthew, the nephew, has been estranged from his family and has an idolizing memory of both Bryan and the original mission of the few.
Director Matt Decker puts together a stellar cast. As the broken and disheartened Bryan, Steven Richard turns in a magnificent performance. He captures the nuances and the inner wrestling of the character. QZ is handled masterfully by Suli Holum. Her underplaying of QZ exposes the character’s fear and disappointment. It also allows us to learn more about Bryan.
As Matthew, newcomer PJ Barth is very impressive in a difficult role. He is innocent, fearful, and obsequious all at the same time. He doesn’t understand how a man that he idolized could be such a disappointment. It is through his eyes we see the real characters of Bryan and QZ. Through his eyes we learn the truth about Jim, Bryan and QZ. It is a lesson about the importance of feeling noticed and the sharing of the human connection.
Set designer, Christopher Haig creates a wonderful playground for Decker’s creation. He has a wonderful sense of time and place. You feel both the year and the socio economical living. It is complemented by lighting (Maria Shaplin), sound (Michael Kiley), costumes (Katherine Fritz), and properties (Emily Shuman). Their collaboration greatly aid the audience in recreating 1999. The Few plays until April 7th. For tickets call the Box Office at 610-283-2230 x1.