Brandon Wolley

The few and far between

Long-haul trucking, short-haul emotions, millennial paranoia and powerhouse acting drive the action in CoHo's "The Few"

We’re in a trailer at the end of a century. Star-crossed lovers meet again, and mourn among the ruins of what could have been. Here, in this not-quite-contemporary castoff of a place, CoHo Productions and co-producers Val Landrum and Brandon Woolley have brought MacArthur Fellowship and Obie award-winning playwright Samuel D. Hunter’s The Few to the stage.

The trailer is an off-the-cuff irritation of cheap floral print wallpaper, a child’s search for comfort with the long-time fleecing of design. It’s not rare: there’s a whole slate of American aesthetic in the Walmarts, Targets, and Tuesday Mornings that reproduce designs almost ad hoc, but without the energy of the originals. The rub, the real issue, comes down to not having any time. Our great American sage, Benjamin Franklin did not write his Poor Richard’s Almanac without bearing in mind that time and money are always in equal competition. While The Few barely shows the anxiety and paranoia surrounding the end of 1999 with the feared computer collapse of a system we barely understood, it captures the way in which time is fleeting between people. The ’90s was a hyper decade, when analog became digital, and the play asks as an undercurrent: if our historians, cultural, art, history can barely keep up with the new paper trail, what happens with our emotional history? That backwater, the mystery that inflects a meaning into the facts: where do the minutes of our soul confessions go, as time makes its mean parade?

Landrum, Sohigian, O'Connell: the few, the proud, the long haul. Photo: Gary Norman

Landrum, Sohigian, O’Connell: the few, the proud, the long haul. Photo: Gary Norman

The Few features a powerhouse of Portland talent in acting, direction and all of the behind-the-scenes work that makes a play. The plot is simple: an old lover returns, only to find out you can never go home.