In A Walk in the Woods, two arms negotiators meet to hash out an arms treaty. One is a seasoned Russian, the other a junior-ranked American diplomat. The play was modeled after an actual event in 1982 when two negotiators actually took a walk in the woods and achieved an agreement that was ultimately rejected by their respective governments. Although now a bit dated (because of the super powers involved) the lesson of the futility of nations trying to reach consensus is timeless.
Lee Blessing’s well-written drama was originally performed by two men. Nearly 30 years later the Russian is played by a fantastic Kathleen Chalfant. After watching her performance I can’t even imagine the role ever being played by a man. Paul Niebanck, who plays the American, is the perfect foil. His performance starts with just the right amount of naivete and ends with heaviness that comes with disenchantment and disappointment. There’s no action in this play, just the deliciousness of Mr. Blessing’s words.
Although sitting through nearly two hours listening to conversation may sound tedious, the repartee is as humorous as it is absorbing and I found myself hanging on to every word. The set is simple and the Clurman Theatre is very small and intimate. You feel like the proverbial “fly on the wall” eavesdropping on an important conversation and thrilled to be part of it. LAR
Keen Company, Clurman Theatre, Theatre Row – 410 W 42nd Street.
Tickets: $62.50 http://www.keencompany.org/tickets/index.shtml
Discounted tickets at http://www.broadwayoffers.com/go.aspx?MD=2001&MC=TRKTCN
Thru: October 18, 2014
Running time 2 hours, 1 intermission