Steep Theatre’s “The Few” Review – The Loneliness of the Long Distance Driver

Peter Moore in The Few at Steep Theatre. Photo by Lee Miller

 

“The Few” is perhaps a misleading title for this work by award-winning playwright and 2014 recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant”, Samuel D. Hunter.    With only a cast of three (Dana Black as QZ, Peter Moore as Bryan, and Travis Coe as Matthew), “The Few” traverses emotional terrain that not “the few” of us know, but nearly all of us do, at one point or another—grief, mourning, and a good dose of loneliness.

 

Dana Black and Peter Moore (l to r) in The Few at Steep Theatre. Photo by Lee Miller

 

The play opens when Bryan, who had gone missing four years earlier, has unexpectedly returned to his one-time lover and co-worker on a magazine for long haul truckers.   He had left without a word, and he returns seemingly unwilling to share the whys and wherefores of his disappearance or return.  

 

During his absence, his partner and lover QZ had taken over the magazine named “The Few”.  The magazine was originally created as an oasis for lonely long haul truckers in need of connection.   While Bryan was gone, QZ had morphed “The Few” into a newly profitable personals ad tabloid, with a tad of editorial copy on the sidelines.  

 

Dana Black and Travis Coe in The Few at Steep Theatre. Photo by Gregg Gilman

 

QZ had been helped in this task by Matthew, a troubled young man who finds not only a job but also a purpose in keeping “The Few” afloat.

 

Travis Coe and Peter Moore (l to r) in The Few at Steep Theatre. Photo by Lee Miller

 

It’s an off-beat premise and one that gives the playwright a lot of leeway to populate our imagination with images of lonely highways on beautiful but barren Western landscapes in Idaho, Wyoming and the like. 

 

Peter Moore and Travis Coe (l to r) in The Few at Steep theatre. Photo by Gregg Gilman

 

As the plot unfolds, we predictably do get to learn why Bryan left and what he was up to, but that’s not to say there is anything “predictable” about the plot lines.  Like many Steep Theatre productions, there are twists and turns in the story that it would be an inconsiderate spoiler to describe in this review, and that totally engage.

 

Travis Coe in The Few at Steep Theatre. Photo by Lee Miller

 

Suffice it to say that the play’s memorable odd-ball characters do somehow seem more probable—but to this writer, not 100% believable-- on this desolate terrain. 

 

Travis Coe and Peter Moore (l to r) in The Few at Steep Theatre. Photo by Lee Miller

 

(Full disclosure:  Unlike your average audience member, my review is perhaps challenged by a very idiosyncratic lens on the story premise.  Viz., I was a ghostwriter and sometime PR contributor to the real-world US magazine created in the late 80’s for independent long-haul truckers, whom market research generalized not as lonely hearts, but as a highly social, convivial and family-oriented crowd.)

 

The direction (Brad Akin) and acting is of the expected Steep Theatre high quality and definitely adds to the story that the playwright has given us.  If you’ve been a Steep fan this past year or so, you will especially marvel at how Peter Moore has yet again taken a character thoroughly into his skin, and how different this character is from those in his recent prior performances.

 

Now through May 21.

 

Steep Theatre

 

1115 West Berwyn

Chicago, IL 60641

 

For tickets or more information visit the Steep Theatre Co. website

 

 

 

 

 

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