THE FEWby Samuel D. Hunter
Resolute Theatre Project
Bryan – Danny Macchietto
QZ – Lindsay Hayward
Matthew – Jake Pierce Blakeman
Director – Seth Johnston
Producer – Amy Cave
Stage Manager – Steve Cave
Lighting Design – Branson White
Set – Seth Johnston
Sound Design – Joshua Hahlen
Reviewed Performance: 10/6/2019
Reviewed by Jazmin Wilson, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Published in 2015, The Few is a relatively new show with a tragically underappreciated rep. Going in to see the show, I had little to no background on the story, entirely unsure of what to expect. As the cast bowed at the end, I found myself swearing that I’d easily see it again any time I had the chance. The story alone proves to be a beautifully written form of absolute loneliness in a world that continues to spin with or without you, but this production specifically really sold the story to me.
The story, to put it briefly, follows three main characters: QZ, a cynical middle-aged woman fighting tirelessly to keep her dream alive, Bryan, QZ’s ex-lover who has returned to the newspaper as a hopeless burnout at the end of his rope after spending four years MIA, and Matthew, the fresh, young assistant that QZ has hired and even allowed to move in to help keep the paper alive. The paper, originally formatted by QZ, Bryan, and their late friend Jim started in order to provide a sense of community for truckers. It is repetitively addressed in the show how lonely and isolating the roads can be, insinuating that the newspaper, aptly titled “The Few,” was once a defining contributor to the overall happiness of truckers all over the country. The paper, sadly enough, seems to have begun lacking in quality following the death of Jim. Bryan basically jumped ship after the death of their friend, leaving QZ alone with the workload, prompting her to seek assistance. The actual plot of the show begins with Bryan’s return, prompting an understandable frustration in QZ, and it takes them the rest of the show to work it out and reveal their true feelings as Matthew runs around keeps things somehow under control and hilarious at the same time. Allow me to stop here with the summary, though, as any more elaboration would blatantly spoil the juiciest parts of the plot. On with the review.
The show opened with murmurs from a fuzzy radio and a perfectly dated set detailed with several items lending itself to be a workspace. Newspapers, Styrofoam cups, sticky note to-do lists taped to chunky, whirring desktop computers decorated the stage, hitting the “1999” mark flawlessly. Newspapers sat tucked into the cushions of a lounge chair, gallon jugs of water cluttering the space under desks, setting up what is said to be a trailer. The set remains the same for the entirety of the show, which I figure is ideal due to the size of the cast and is filled with enough detail for the actors to continuously interact with throughout the show. The space is cluttered, but incredibly charming, surprising the audience with each new object that directly serves as a prop. In addition to the tasteful pile-up of the set, the show in itself was entirely an intimate experience. Fourteen chairs served as the space for an audience and the actual production took place inside of a dance studio, which was almost jarring at first, but easily proved to be the right choice for the show. The cast of three was in your face and easy to view, making for an extremely vulnerable performance through the emotional ups and downs of the story. Not to mention, not having to use microphones in such a small performance space is always a plus, leaving no room for technical difficulty. On the note of technicalities, I have no complaints. The lighting and transitions were flawless in setting the mood for the show, and while the radio moments were fuzzy, they were perfect. There was something about the way the set, lighting, and radio entries fused that truly made me feel like I was in a trailer and at the end of my rope, which I appreciated. Overall, set, lighting, transitions, etc. earn an A++ from me.
Alright, now onto the interesting stuff.
I don’t usually say that I find shows to be perfectly cast, but for this one, there’s no other way to describe it. Each person was perfect for their role and brought something very special and personal to the table that I truly doubt anyone else could have. Danny Macchietto, for instance, was entirely too perfect for his role. Everything about his characterization was tired, angry, put out, and almost tragic. His characterization of Bryan made me ache for him as he moped around feeling sorry for himself. Not to mention, his chemistry with Lindsay Hayward as QZ was impeccable, bringing me to the edge of my seat in search of an emotional resolve between the pair. From the get-go, Hayward paints QZ as a spitfire, and I was fond of the character from the moment she spoke her first line. There was something so underlyingly complex about her motivations and personhood that was beautifully illuminated by Hayward’s performance, making her captivating to watch every time she did so much as crack open a can of soda.
Matthew, though, portrayed by Jake Pierce Blakeman, was something that really stood out to me. If I was to pick one reason to see this show again myself, it would be to revisit the emotional intensity Blakeman brought to Matthew’s character. Perhaps it is because his role calls for the highest highs and lowest lows as he suffers grief and also draws laughs from the crowd, but nevertheless, I was nothing short of enchanted with his performance. His outbursts left me tense, and his tender moments made me want to just stand up and give him a hug. No matter what he did, my eye was on him, and I was dying to see what would set him off next.
To conclude, The Few was an extremely well-produced and emotionally gripping show that I would happily see again given the chance. The set was detailed to a T, and the intimate performance space fused impeccably with the small cast to create an extremely immersive experience for all who appreciate a good show.
Resolute Theatre Project
Production runs through October 13.
Friday, October 11, 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 12, 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 13, 2:30 pm
WHERE: Amy’s Studio of Performing Arts | 11888 Marsh Lane, Ste. 600 | Dallas, TX | 75234
ADMISSION: $18. Tickets can be purchased at www.ResoluteTheatreProject.com or by calling 972-484-7900