CoHo Season 20
March 25 – April 16, 2016
CoHo Productions with Brandon Woolley and Val Landrum present
Written by Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by Brandon Woolley
Performances by Val Landrum, Micheal O’Connell and Caleb Sohigian
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
It’s 1999 and Y2K panic looms over a small town in northern Idaho where QZ struggles to keep a grassroots newspaper for long-haul truckers alive. When Bryan, the paper’s founding publisher and QZ’s ex-lover, returns after an unexplained four-year absence, he finds the paper full of personal ads from lonely truckers, his former partner full of rage and regret, and his double-wide trailer/office occupied by Matthew, a sensitive young misfit full of misplaced hero-worship. A compact, compassionate play from NW-native and MacArthur genius playwright Samuel D. Hunter about the struggle to keep hope alive, the search for human connection, and the barriers and detours on the way there.
CoHo Productions with Val Landrum and Brandon Woolley bring Hunter’s work back to Portland with The Few, which was workshopped in Portland Center Stage’s 2012 JAW festival. It since premiered in 2013 at The Old Globe in San Diego, followed by a NYC production in 2014 at Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre.
“The Few features a powerhouse of Portland talent in acting, direction and all of the behind-the-scenes work that makes a play. Landrum plays QZ… cantankerous by reason. She’s had her time in the trenches and captures the burned-out working-class girl with an empathy and realism…Like water dissolving salt, we watch Brian (Michael O’Connell) unable and unwilling to reach beyond his social construct: he’s the ultimate in machismo, declaring that a man without emotion, but full of drive, can just make his way in the world, without any responsibility to those with whom he binds…Sohigian plays the young men who lie in wait for their right time to come out, as they build a wall of strength inside. It’s the looking up and outwards, the practicing of English grammar, the history-soaking blankets of pop culture as relevant. It is being an authority. He is the outsider, who can know more, make more, become a foil for the status quo…The grand irony (the ’90s was the indisputable decade of hellbent irony in the form of nostalgia) is that none of the three, QZ, Brian or Matthew, can communicate well, except on paper. In a way they become a premonition of the virtual world to come, where all the intense emotions such as love, longing, aching can only be typed out and delivered, hardly said or shown.”
“Hunter has a sharp ear for drifty, natural dialogue and sun-seared Idaho wisecrackery. And this play cements the playwright’s non-condescending fondness for outcasts reaching out from desolate, one-room spaces…Too many playwrights search for meaning onstage only through the severely moneyed. Hunter’s oddballs are so ground level, they aspire to blue collar.”
“It’s a play as much about its container as its contents…Samuel D. Hunter…wrote The Few for a small theater like the CoHo, with its three-quarter circle of 95 seats. He wrote it to be told in the round, with stage blocking getting the performers close to the audience. He wrote The Few about the rural Pacific Northwest, about isolation and everyday human attempts at togetherness… CoHo Productions has done a bang-up job presenting it with nuance and vigor.”