A Walk in the Woods | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

A Walk in the Woods 

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A WALK IN THE WOODS, Perfect Note Productions, at Northminster Presbyterian Church. During the 1982 arms talks in Geneva, American and Soviet delegates reportedly abandoned formal negotiations to take a walk and have a private chat. In 1986, playwright Lee Blessing used the setting and the situation to speculate on what two men who held the world's fate in their hands might have said to each other.

Andrey Botvinnik has talked global annihilation for so long that he barely takes it seriously anymore, while the freshly promoted John Honeyman is as eager as a schoolboy to end the arms race. As they speak of matters both grim and frivolous--Botvinnik finds particular delight in mispronouncing the name of Honeyman's hometown--and commiserate on their bosses' obstructionist tactics, they come to realize that accord among nations must begin with individuals like themselves.

Since the Soviet Union is no longer a threat, the play could easily have been reduced to a vehicle for comic satire. But under Bill Brennan's intelligent direction, Joe Mack as Honeyman and Jim Tifft as Botvinnik make their characters seem universal and their predicament immediate and poignant.

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