In a messy trailer somewhere off I-90 in Northern Idaho, a couple of aging baby boomers talk shop over stacks of back copies of a newspaper for long-haul truckers. They discuss layout, format, features, distribution, personal ads. The paper, called The Few, is now a struggling concern, although it once served as a lifeline, offering a sense of connection to lonely, isolated readers.
The strained history of the two, Bryan (Michael Morgan) and QZ (Lindsey Pierce), becomes apparent as they trade curt words and long stares. He walked out on her four years earlier with no explanation.
The Few, by Samuel D. Hunter, transports the audience to distant imagined highways and rest stops even as it keeps its characters trapped in a claustrophobic newspaper production office. An answering machine regularly picks up calls from lonely singles dictating “in search of” ads.
“Hello love seekers! You’ve reached the message line for The Few‘s personal ad section….”
The responses illustrate far-flung solo lives in transit.
“Danny callin’ again… Looking for lady co-pilot to navigate end times. Spacious bunker with comfortable bed, running water, tape deck… Me: over 60. You: under 40. Let’s ride!”
Set in the pre-Y2K era of clunky desktop computers and Tetris, the story conveys complex life histories through a deceptively simple structure.
The BETC production, directed by Kate Folkins, features a fully committed cast of three: Bryan and QZ are joined by Matthew (John Hauser), a gay young man who ends his sentences with question marks. “I’ve, uh. I’ve been working here a few years now?” he tells Bryan on first meeting.
Matthew is the nephew of Jim, a co-creator of the paper with Bryan and QZ. Matthew reveres them for having launched the paper, even though The Few is a ghost of its former self. Sure, it’s downsized and the horoscopes are made up, but it still serves as connective tissue for a community.