Lost & Found in the Woods

Lee Blessing’s 1988 play “A Walk in the Woods” has some extra relevance today when Russia is so much in the news, but the subject of nuclear arms is only a sideshow compared to interference in elections and the war in Syria. The focus of  current nuclear angst has switched to Iran and North Korea, but given the deteriorating relations between the 2 superpowers, the threat posed by the Russian and U.S. weapons stockpiles is probably just as grave now as it was in 1988, especially with headstrong leaders in charge of these two most powerful countries. The play is based on a real incident in 1982 when arms treaty negotiators Paul Nitze and Yuli Kvitsinsky slipped away from the bargaining table for a stroll in a forest outside of Geneva, Switzerland. The real and fictional events arrive at the same end: the breakthrough agreement reached away from the watchful eyes of the press and diplomatic corps is rejected by both sides. DIJO Productions’ staging of the play featured Edward Giron as the personable realist, Soviet Andrey Botvinnik, and William Waxman as the idealistic stickler for formal protocol, American John Honeyman. Botvinnik knows from experience that the negotiations are really just a show that will be subverted because both sides want to maintain a strategic advantage, but Honeyman’s inexperience and idealism keep his hope for success alive until the end of the play. It’s a clear-eyed look at realpolitik and human relations, highlighting the frustrations of the former and the importance of friendship in the latter. A well acted, directed and produced production, maybe the best DIJO has ever presented! Here’s a short video of highlights.

Actors Edward Giron and William Waxman

Edward Giron and William Waxman in DIJO Productions “A Walk in the Woods” 3/3/17 Plaza Playhouse Theatre, Carpinteria, CA