Talking Theatre with Samuel D. Hunter and Brandon Woolley – Part II

Co-producer and director Brandon Woolley chatted with The Few playwright Samuel D. Hunter about inspiration, process, interstates and Idaho as rehearsals for CoHo’s upcoming production were just underway.  Read the first part of their conversation here, and check back for more next week.

Samuel D. Hunter - Photo Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Samuel D. Hunter – Photo Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Brandon Woolley
Brandon Woolley








Knowing what I know about where you’re from – the Pacific Northwest, Idaho – it’s clear that you are writing places that you know, where you’ve lived and experienced. Is that true for everything you’re writing?  . . .  Do you always write what you know?


In a sense every writer writes what they know. I do draw a lot from where I grew up and my history. In a certain sense all of them are rounded out emotional autobiographies. That’s the only way I can find my way in. There’s a lot of me in Matthew; and there’s a lot of me in Bryan, the sort of black hole of despair that I’ve felt at certain points in my life; and QZ as well. In terms of plot points, I can’t think of any play I’ve ever written where the story was something I’d experienced, the stories are all concocted. I don’t sit and think “I’ve got to write another play about Idaho,” but the things I am interested in writing about – working class people, non-urban places that don’t normally show up on our stages and screens – Idaho is such a good fit for that. I’ve never really had the compulsion to write about erudite, patrician people getting a divorce or something.


Everyone else is doing that so please don’t.


Idaho continues to be a great place to draw inspiration from and to return to, even if it is sort of a fictionalized Idaho at this point.


In terms of production and given circumstance, these places feel so real and lived in and accessible in terms of how to make them appear onstage. When you describe at the top of The Few “the setting is a trailer in 1999” and describe it, we know where we are. It’s a beautiful jumping off point, immediately once we started putting desks and filing cabinets in the cramped space it informs so much more about the loneliness and search for human connection that is being explored in the play. As soon as we taped it out, the actors realize “oh this is small”


Yeah it’s tiny!


Not a lot of room in that trailer, and we work in those confines. It’s tricky from a blocking standpoint, we are also doing it in three-quarter thrust, which is its own bag of tricks. But it is fun to realize how this play physicalizes itself. We’re having a good time

Don’t Stop Here

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