Set at the end of the Cold War, Lee Blessing's provocative drama tells the tale of a series of meetings between an American and a Russian Ambassador. More…
Stemming from an actual incident in Geneva in 1983 when a Soviet and an American diplomat took "a walk in the woods" together during arms control talks, the two-character play raises deep questions, “What can we do to heal the world?” “What is the value of human connection?” “How can we best bridge fundamental differences?”
"The two talented, delightfully understated actors have taken on these roles with energy and sincerity. Manning makes Honeyman both simple and complex at the same time while Van Treuren mines Botvinnik's uncanny ability to charm and frighten at the same time. You root for them from beginning to end and hope against hope for them to actually produce a treaty." Full Review
"Van Treuren and Manning offer excellent performances, each…providing emotional depth, intellectual nuance, and humorous timing to the conversations. The…silver-haired Van Treuren…masterfully creates the image of a congenial, well-educated, wryly humorous, Continental sophisticate…Manning, although sometimes guilty of mumbling…makes a perfect foil for Andrey's witty ribbing…Still, so much…focuses on the personalities of the…negotiators, it doesn't require two hours for its points to be made." Full Review
"Blessing’s deft 1988 two-hander is, unfortunately, no less topical today...The play is beautifully written, humorous and perceptive. Manning's Honeyman is believably ardent and volatile..Somehow, however, the actor only intermittently inhabits the role...As the Russian, Van Treuren is a complete delight...Gestures are in character, manner elegant, timing impeccable...Fogel handles her scenario with utter finesse. Movement always comes from somewhere...Pacing is excellent." Full Review
"Three decades old yet still fresh as a daisy...Van Treuren's character enjoyed the best bon mots of a clever script...His depiction of the wily and cynical man from Leningrad made an effective foil for Manning's more earnest Midwestern sensibilities...A play that is about the nuances of diplomacy...Sticklers for accuracy may quibble with some finer points of the script...Taps into our ongoing nostalgia for an era that was oddly safer than our own." Full Review
"Kudos to Van Treuren, who makes Botvinnik his own...For this play to truly work, you need two actors at the top of their game. Van Treuren is wonderfully cast. I really loved his balance between diplomat and humorist. He is like watching a masterclass in acting. Manning just seems miscast. I never believed he was a diplomat...There is a cadence and a cat-and-mouse feel to their speech and though Honeyman starts off as someone new to this game, he is supposed to be a prized negotiator." Full Review
"As a study in opposites, Blessing’s play still works...Manning plays a dour character and hasn't quite found a way to make him as interesting as Botvinnik is initially, although eventually his Honeyman achieves parity...One suspects that the production was planned because of a resurgence of concerns about nuclear war in the current political climate. But it now feels just as much like a celebration of the foreign-service professionals who devote their lives to negotiating." Full Review
"Unfortunately, civility does not always make for the most gripping drama, and rather shamefully, I thought perhaps some occasional puerile name-calling and pompous boasts might make for a more riveting evening...Under Donna Jean Fogel's unfussy direction, Van Treuren and Manning bring, for the most part, admirable restraint to their roles...The play certainly speaks to audiences today...Perhaps it is advisable to take in a mild and reflective play every now and then." Full Review
"In 1988 Lee Blessing’s play premiered on Broadway...Thirty years later, his message continues to resonate...An uncompelling, but perfectly adequate production...Van Treuren and Manning appear to be competent actors but here, they are miscast...For an intimate play like this to fully ignite, magnetism, razor-sharp acuity, and exceptional dynamism are required from its cast...Still, the two manage to deliver Blessing's vital message." Full Review
"Time has not sharpened its impact. But one can appreciate the play's wit as well as its clear-eyed assessment of a process that, ultimately, becomes an end in itself...If 'A Walk in the Woods' can't reach a satisfactory conclusion, if it ultimately ends up chasing its own tail, Donna Jean Fogel's production benefits from Van Treuren's sly characterization and the contributions of the design team." Full Review
"Every conversation hovers at the surface, never diving into the specifics of what these two men are actually trying to achieve...None of the artists involved in the production seem to be making any bold choices with the text...The ebb and flow of their relationship feels largely stagnant...Granted, Blessing spends two hours illustrating just how our political system spins its wheels while moving nowhere. But that's no excuse for the play depicting that system to be equally inert." Full Review
See it if You are fascinated by duals of wits and character, want relevant theater and enjoy enduring, impactful drama in an intimate space
Don't see it if Don't like serious plays, thinking bores you, you only like fluff and aren't interested in watching wonderful actors in an intimate setting
See it if If you like great acting, great direction, seeing good entertaining theater. This is a truly wonderful production of a timeless play.
Don't see it if you don't like listening to well written dialogue and witnessing good acting.
See it if This is a well written historically influenced story that holds true for today's events. Acting was in fine form. Very satisfying
Don't see it if If you want fast action and big production. This is an intimate setting with bare bones but brilliant set. Not for the frivolous seekers.
See it if you want to get a fictionalized view into how politics gets things done - or not!
Don't see it if you want a plot and action heavy story. This is a story more about what goes Unsaid and reading between the lines.
See it if It's very clever. If you like good dialog and are a bit cynical about world events, this will please you.
Don't see it if You think Ronald Wilson Reagan really tried to achieve significant nuclear disarmament.
See it if Deep, witty study of character & friendship. People who don't seem to get along eventually bond due to their differences. Makes you think.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy a focus on character development, where little happens on the outside but people grow and change on the inside.
See it if you get excited about an provocative two-character play dealing the the human and political aspects of negotiation. See both sides collide.
Don't see it if lots of dialog is not your thing. Two negotiators plumb the depths and heights of political and personal aspects of the Cold War arms race..
See it if Enjoy dialogue & character driven 2 person play with good chemistry and performances by the two actors who play the diplomats negotiating.
Don't see it if Want something more fast paced, with a larger cast and a lighter theme. It can drag a little bit so if easily bored might be challenging
See it if you like insightful shows that make you think/engage your mind. U're curious abt forces at play in int'l peace talks or idealism vs. realism
Don't see it if you dislike talking/idea-centric plays. You need action or visible drama (world survival is at stake, but things play out in conversation).
See it if you enjoy the intersection of politics, diplomacy and intrigue, or appreciate a "behind the scenes" viewpoint of how events might transpire.
Don't see it if shows that are comprised purely of dialog bore you, or if you have no interest in the psychology of powerful statesmen.
See it if you like fictional historical theater, small cast shows (just the 2 characters), or dialogue heavy theater.
Don't see it if You like large production theater, don't like historical theater, or what plot heavy theater.
See it if A very inof of two characters and two countries. It is well acted and directed.
Don't see it if If you are looking for a lot of action or a lighthearted romp this is not for you. It is thoughtful and well paced.
See it if you are geared up for listening to a good conversation between two negotiators from different countries, different cultures.
Don't see it if you cannot sit for two hours intently listening; of if you need music or action to keep you engaged.
See it if you enjoy good productions of well crafted plays. An older experienced Russian meets with a young inexperienced American to create a treaty
Don't see it if your expectations are very high. The younger actor is not as able as his partner which weakens the necessary balance between the men
See it if You like plays that depict real events or events that could have been real. You like plays with a political theme.
Don't see it if You don’t like small stage no scenery 2 actor shows. You like our current occupant of our WH ! You are looking for a happy ending !
See it if The empathy, respect, integrity, fairness, patience, intelligence, flexibility, sense of humor, self-discipline, & honestly of a negotiator.
Don't see it if You think the ignorant, boorish, short-fused bully in DC is a great negotiator.
See it if The play is quite engaging and well acted but it could be executed in 90 minutes or a few minutes less while losing the intermission.
Don't see it if Two solid performances are presented but Martin Van Treuen is the stand-out as the wise Russian who knows the outcome of their meetings.
See it if if you want to see a well acted dramatic show that can be surprisingly funny at times and really makes you think
Don't see it if you don't like shows with a political theme or two character shows.
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