Serenbe Playhouse could not have found a more suitable place to hold the theater’s latest production, A Walk in the Woods by Lee Blessing. With the serene forest and a simple park bench as the backdrop, watching this play is almost like watching an actual summit in the Genevan woods.
A Pulitzer Prize Finalist and Tony Award® nominee, A Walk in the Woods follows two diplomats, one from the U.S. and one from the Soviet Union, tasked with forming the framework for an arms reduction treaty. Over the course of the year, the two men discuss a variety of nuclear warhead issues, philosophy and the reason countries really don’t want peace.
As the negotiators, both actors are in fine form, giving splendid, engaging performances. Robin Bloodworth, as John, the American negotiator, makes what could be an unlikeable character interesting and human. John, a serious professional who wants to stay focused on the task at hand is a strong contrast from Andrey, the Soviet diplomat, who is brilliantly played by Allan Edwards. He brings out the jovial and witty nature of the character and quickly endures himself to the audience.
Bloodworth’s John overcomes the trappings of the stogy character whose statement in the first scene (“I’m here to make a treaty, not a friendship”) describes him well. Much of his struggles in the play are his attempts to get Audrey to have serious and not “frivolous” conversation. While John tends to have stern and angry dialogue, he does show a bit of emotion at the end of the play.
Andrey, on the other hand, hides his seriousness under jokes and rhetorical questions. A bit cynical, he asks, “Even if we do agree, do you think it will all matter?” Edwards’ subtle and convincing performance makes the character enjoyable to watch.
One of the summer’s don’t miss productions, Serenbe Playhouse’s A Walk in the Woods runs through July 14, 2013 at the Farmer’s Market entrance. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The play’s run time is about two hours with a short intermission.
– Kenny Norton