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Play review: `A Walk in the Woods' – a political comedy adapted from American playwright Lee Blessing's most notable work
'A Walk in the Woods' is a political comedy adapted by Randeep Hooda and Faisal Rashid from American playwright Lee Blessing's most notable work of the same name.
A two-act play casting prodigal theatre artists Naseeruddin Shah and Rajit Kapur, 'A Walk in the Woods' is directed by star theatre performer and Shah's wife Ratna Pathak Shah. Debuting in August 2012, the adaptation has had multiple re-enactments ever since. This production was directed for The Motley Theatre Group (1979) by theatre kingpins like Naseeruddin Shah and Tom Alter among other notables in the theatre circuit.

A Walk in the Woods play

'A Walk in the Woods', Blessing's original had sprung up from a real-life politico-diplomatic crisis situation back during the absolute peak of the cold war. Historically, the US and the USSR, helming the cold war arms race had sent two negotiators, Paul H Nitze and Yuli A Kvitsinsky from the American and the then Soviet sides respectively to an official session in Geneva. As they had taken an unofficial stroll together to achieve a consensus that wasn't coming through in their official talks, they had eventually come to agree, later to be turned down by their egoistic governments. Blessing had taken this premise to weave a fictitious situation.

The adaptation is however set in the context of India-Pak border crisis closer home where Kapur and Shah have played the roles of the negotiating neighbours from the Indian and the Pakistani sides respectively. In the peace advocating state of Switzerland, they first meet to find themselves completely closed to the demands of each others' governments but as months rolled past, the negotiators – now friends – found agreeable terms in their governmental policies. But as the historic rival governments would have it, the months-long talks did not come to fruition despite efforts from both negotiators.

Hooda and Rashid's adaptation from the original is a seasoned effort with politically correct yet massively witty dialogue execution. Both Shah and Kapur's performances could put Blessing's original cast in a spot, while Ratna Pathak Shah's able direction ensured that no minute of the play went stiff.

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