Rob Gardner Returns In A Walk In The Woods

Posted on November 10th, 2010 by

Gardner and O'Brien in A Walk In The Woods

Gardner and O'Brien in A Walk In The Woods

Long-time Anderson Theatre director Rob Gardner returns to Gustavus in an Iowa Theatre Artists Company production of A Walk In The Woods on Friday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Jussi Björling Recital Hall.  This one-night-only performance includes Gardner as Soviet negotiator Andrev Botvinnik alongside movie and television actor Patrick Thomas O’Brien as the American agent John Honeyman. A Walk in the Woods general admission tickets are $10.00 and will be available at the door. Gustavus students and staff will be admitted at no charge with the funding from the Johnson Endowment.

A Walk In The Woods was written by Lee Blessing in 1987 and was first produced at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut before moving to Broadway in 1988.  Blessing’s play is a totally fictional account of two arms control negotiators, an American and a Soviet, who have arranged to meet in the woods of Geneva, Switzerland to piece together an arms reduction treaty that would satisfy both the Soviet Union and the United States.  The story of the play was inspired by the real life meeting of U.S. negotiator, Paul Nitze and Soviet negotiator, Yuli Kvitsinsky who arranged to meet in the woods of Switzerland in 1982 to draft an arms reduction proposal which was eventually rejected by both countries,  Blessing’s play serves more as a story of two men who start to evaluate the importance of their work and their lives as they begin to truly understand just what they are capable of negotiating.

Often described as a “comic drama,” A Walk In The Woods manages to find the humor as well as the anguish of arms control negotiation between two “super power”  diplomats at the height of the Cold War.  The thought-provoking and frequently humorous play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony award and an Olivier award.  Robert Gardner performs the role of Soviet negotiator,  Andrey Botvinnik and Patrick Thomas O’Brien appears as American negotiator, John Honeyman.  Both actors have appeared in numerous productions for ITAC as well as having extensive resumès at theatres throughout the Midwest. ITAC Co-Producer, Meg Merckens of South Amana, is directing the production.

This production of A Walk In The Woods with Rob Gardner and Patrick Thomas O’Brien runs for one-night-only, Friday, November 12 and begins at 7:30 p.m. in Björling Recital Hall. It is made possible with funding provided by the Johnson Endowment for the Arts.


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