“I couldn’t be happier that you’re doing one of my plays,” wrote playwright Lee Blessing to Gillian Drake. Drake is directing Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of A Walk in the Woods, which opens in Bethesda, MD on March 15th. A Walk in the Woods is Quotidian’s first show following the best-selling holiday musical James Joyce’s The Dead, and continues the company’s 15th Anniversary Season.
Blessing also shared this with Drake, reflecting on his play nearly 25 years after having written it:
“The issue A Walk in the Woods explores is chronic, in the sense that nuclear weaponry can’t be uninvented; still, the geopolitical landscape of the mid-1980’s has changed considerably. The Soviet Union has disappeared, and significant reductions of nuclear weapon stockpiles have been made by both the U.S. and Russia.
“I suppose people keep coming back to this play because the struggles and frustrations described in it are not confined to two nations any longer. Proliferation has become a new engine for the nuclear dilemma. I recently contributed a one-act play to a play cycle created by London’s Tricycle Theatre. It was called The Bomb and traced the history of nuclear weapons over the last 75 years or so. My play, Seven Joys, was about the “nuclear club” (as it’s sometimes called) and traced the spread of the bomb from the U.S. to the U.S.S.R. to Britain and France, China, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Israel (in all likelihood), North Korea and — someday soon? — Iran.
“Each of these countries encounters the same dynamic when it develops the ‘WMD’ status and must face similar questions. How do we control the weapons? How do keep them secure and avoid an accidental conflict? How do we keep up with our enemies? How do we successfully play the game of brinksmanship? And above all, how do we negotiate now that we possess weapons we never actually want to be forced to use? My Reagan-era play posed all these problems, and I suppose contemporary audiences find they can still usefully explore them as they watch Honeyman and Botvinnik agonize together.
“So, while today’s politics are different from those of the Cold War, the world’s no less dangerous, and the possibility of a small country touching off a major conflagration by using just one nuclear device grows greater every day. Sadly, I think A Walk in the Woods may seem relevant for quite some time to come.”
Lee Blessing, 2013
Two arms negotiators, a Russian and an American, meet informally after long, frustrating hours at the bargaining table in Geneva. As their talks continue, it is clear that despite their deepening understanding, these two wise and decent men face profound frustration in dealing with the mistrust of both governments. Nearly a quarter of a century after the play was written, it is clear that the theme is timeless.
Performance times: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm, with one additional 2pm show on April 13.
Tickets are $30, or $25 for students or seniors, and can be purchased here.
Performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815. There is ample parking across the street (free on Saturdays and Sundays), and the theatre is just five blocks from the Bethesda Metro Station on the red line.
For further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.