Building on the numerous sold out performances of their ambitious holiday musical "James Joyce's The Dead", Quotidian Theatre Company follows their large-ensemble bestseller with a production of Lee Blessing's intimate two-man play "A Walk in the Woods". The charming, thought-provoking, politically-infused serio-comedy will run March 15 - April 14 at The Writer's Center in downtown Bethesda, MD.
In Blessing's Pulitzer-nominated play set in 1985, a Russian arms negotiator and his American counterpart meet informally after long, frustrating hours at the bargaining table in Geneva. As their talks continue, it becomes clear to both men that, despite their growing understanding and even admiration for each other, the mistrust between their governments will continue to hinder progress and cause profound frustration.
"The writing is just masterful," says director Gillian Drake. "Blessing knows how to write dialogue beautifully; how to turn a scene deftly; and how to give characters, through their words, an arc and actable moments." Drake is joined on the project by actors Brit Herring (who plays American negotiator John Honeyman) and Steve LaRocque (as Russian negotiator Andrey Botvinnick).
Blessing says he "couldn't be happier" Drake is directing another of his plays. Drake previously directed his piece "Chesapeake" to warm reviews for The Bay Theatre Company; she worked with Herring on that company's crowd-pleasing production of Terrence McNally's "Lips Together, Teeth Apart". Herring comes to "A Walk in the Woods" after performances at the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Washington Stage Guild, and LaRocque has performed in over 15 plays for Quotidian Theatre Company.
Since the company's inception in 1998, Quotidian has focused on understated, character-driven drama. Drake says Herring and LaRocque "bring such commitment, integrity, and talent to the project, it makes rehearsal a joy." Herring, Drake says, "is a character actor in a leading man's body, and a powerhouse as well," while LaRocque "delves into each scene with the seriousness of a Ralph Richardson, but with a charm and impish good nature that is disarming."
Blessing credits the play's lasting power to its subject. "While today's politics are different from those of the Cold War," he says, "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. How do we negotiate now that we possess weapons we never actually want to be forced to use? Sadly, I think 'A Walk in the Woods' may seem relevant for quite some time to come."
Quotidian Theatre Company presents "A Walk in the Woods" by Lee Blessing.
Directed by Gillian Drake, featuring Brit Herring and Steve LaRocque.
Two wise and decent men spar humorously to overcome their governments' political posturing.
Tickets are $30, or $25 for students or seniors, and can be bought online at quotidiantheatre.org.
The play opens March 15, and runs through April 14 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, with one added 2pm performance on Saturday, April 13.
All 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 Jack Sbarbori via email at email@example.com or by phone at 301-816-1023.