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Chamber Theatre's 'The Few' Explores the Disconnect of High-Tech

Feb. 28, 2017
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Photo credit: Paul Ruffolo

Remember 1999? Way back in the 20th century? The fear of cyber-Armageddon surrounded us. “Y2K” approached, and our utter dependence on all things technological was supposed to come to a complete standstill. We all survived. Cyber speaking, that is.

In Samuel D. Hunter’s play The Few, three people live in their own self-created isolation as Y2K approaches fueling their fears—real and imagined—while trying desperately to connect with others. The irony is self-apparent: People leave their wants and desires for human connection on an answering machine. The intimate, 90-minute, no-intermission drama opened last weekend at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. It is a beautifully wrought, stark and poignant reminder of the ever-constant need for human contact—this largely due to the excellent cast and seamless direction of C. Michael Wright. 

Having suddenly abandoned his newspaper four years earlier, Bryan (James Ridge) returns to find his former lover and business partner, QZ (Mary McDonald Kerr), running the tiny operation along with the sensitive, misfitted Matthew (Mitch Bultman). As Bryan tries to rekindle the past (personally and professionally), it’s clear that things have changed; the ever increasing shroud of Y2K looms larger overhead to reinforce that. Despite the predictable ending, The Few works thanks to this trio of amazing talent. 

Ridge is perfectly suited to the gaunt, burned-out drifter and completely inhabits the role. Kerr likewise is in fine form as the jilted yet determined lover. Both are trapped by their collective pasts, as is Matthew. In a stunning breakout MCT performance, Bultman is the catalyst (and catapult) for the explosive transformations that follow. His insecurities, kindnesses and fearfulness transform his Matthew into more than what the script provides. Bultman is fascinating to watch, start to finish. 

We know how Y2K turned out. In The Few, we can only count on the certainty of change and the uncertainty of where it leads.

Through March 19 at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway. For tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com.

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