This preview was provided by Exit Through Eden.

A Walk in the Woods

“Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.” General “Buck” Turgidson from Dr. Strangelove

A quarter century ago, our fears sounded like something from a video game. Two super powers threatened burn our world to a cinder. I remember watching Escape from the Planet of the Apes as a child and when Zira said she saw the rim of the Earth melt, I never doubted it could happen.

In the 21st century, the notion of a bipolar world seems as quaint as a horse and buggy.  We don’t have the luxury of obsessing about the Soviet menace. We still worry about Russia, but also about China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and many others. Iran and North Korea keep the threat of nuclear weapons in the news, but we also fear terrorism, bioterrorism, economic collapse, and global pandemic. In 1984, the typical American would not have even imagined Al-Qaeda.

It’s been 25 years since Lee Blessing’s A walk in the Woods debuted on Broadway. However, the theme of two men trying to save the world when no one wants them to succeed could not be more timely. Whether the issue is abortion, the budget, gun reform, or almost anything else, two sides that cannot come together to solve real problems is our political reality.

The play is inspired by a real life walk in the woods by Paul Nitze and Yuli Kvitsinsky, who were involved in talks to limit Intermediate-Range Nuclear weapons. They created a promising proposal that became entangled in politics and was shot down on both sides.  

Lee Blessing uses this event as a jumping off point for looking at the absurdity of negotiating for change when those in power benefit from the status quo. The play moves fluidly from geopolitical issues to very human conflicts: realism vs. idealism, optimism vs. pessimism, old vs. young. Above all, it’s about hope, trust, and the need to look across the table and see ourselves.

For all the serious themes, the play is very funny. Time Magazine said “It is not only the best of the dramas to reach Broadway this season, it is also the funniest.” You’ll never think of Switzerland the same way again.

Two good men are trying to stop the end of the world. No one wants them to succeed. And they don’t trust each other.

Featuring J Chachula as John Honeyman and Eric Hale as Andrey Botvinnik. Directed by Marta King.