Let $G$ be the mapping class group of a closed surface $S_{g}$. Bestvina-Bromberg-Fujuwara http://front.math.ucdavis.edu/1006.1939 recently constructed a finite index subgroup $B$ of $G$ such that for every essential closed simple curve $\gamma$ on $S_{g}$ and every $h\in B$ either $h\gamma=\gamma$ or $h\gamma$ intersects $\gamma$ (everything is modulo isotopy of $S_{g}$). The construction is not difficult: $B$ is just the subgroup of $G$ fixing $\pi_1(S_{g})/N$ for some characteristic subgroup $N$ of the $\pi_1$ of finite index. The $N$ can be found by intersecting kernels of the first homology mod $6$ with kernels of the first homology mod 2 of all index 2 subgroups of the $\pi_1$. Question: can one find another finite index subgroup $B'$ of $G$ with the same property but with a smaller index. Most probably $B'$ cannot be above Torelli subgroup, but can it be "not far from Torelli". I am interested in $B'$ that does not act non-trivially on a simplicial tree. The motivation is here: http://front.math.ucdavis.edu/1005.5056.

** Update: ** I read somewhere (I do not remember where now) that if $g$ is an element of the Torelli subgroup, $\gamma$ is a simple closed curve, then at least two of the three curves $\gamma, g\gamma, g^2\gamma$ must intersect. From this I deduced that two curves are not enough and that a Bestvina-Bromberg-Fujiwara subgroup cannot contain the Torelli subgroup. Now the question is whether it may contain the Johnson kernel. For this one needs first to answer the following question: if $g$ is the Dehn twist about a separating curve, $\gamma$ is a simple closed curve, is it true that $g\gamma$ intersects $\gamma$ or $g\gamma=\gamma$?