A Walk in the Woods. Are you cynical or hopeful?

Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Photo by Carol Rosegg.

I am not going to lie. I am not a big fan of plays for three big reasons:(1) There is no music (2) There is no dancing (3) If you miss anything in the play, you might as well leave the building.

A Walk in the Woods is a play and I knew that I was taking a risk by going to it. However, A Walk in the Woods is a special play because it made me question everything in the world of politics.

Prior to the show, I met up with my friend, who I was taking to the show. We went to a vegetarian restaurant, where I discovered that I was allergic to falafel (yes, I'm crying about this). Immediately, I wasn't in the greatest of moods because now I can't eat what I love the most. We left the restaurant, me with my slightly swollen mouth, and headed over to the theater. When entering the Clurman Theatre, I was hit by  the smell of wood. On stage, were fake trees, a wooden bench, and the floor was covered with wood. I took a look around the place and I only saw old people; we were the youngest people in the room.

A Walk in the Woods focuses on a number of topics, but one of the topics that hit me the most was the exploration of human nature in the Soviet-American conflict. Irene, the Russian negotiator, argued that men are inherently selfish and the conflict between the Soviet Union would not be solved since both sides are stubborn. John, on the other hand, was more hopeful. When both characters talked about this idea, I felt like a high school senior again, reading Hobbes and debating with my classmates about human nature. Because I am more cynical, I definitely sided with Irene on this idea. From what I read in the newspaper and what I see in my daily life, humans are selfish. Even acts that are selfless have a little selfishness in them.

This wasn't the only problem I sided with Irene on, probably because I identified with Irene. Irene is stubborn, cynical, and she gets the job done. I am stubborn. I do not take "No" easily and am very persistent in what I want, but also in what I support. I am also cynical like Irene. Based on my life experience (Ha, I sound old), I  think that humans are selfish and the big problems that government can solve, won't be solved because of human nature. I also am one for the job because I am persistent. Okay, this is sounding like a job interview, but I really identify with Irene and her being a female and a negotiator for Russia is a win for girl power and really empowering!

Although I did identify a lot with Irene, I also saw some of myself in John. John is much younger than Irene and he was definitely more hopeful. When Irene broke it to him that his hope for Russia and America's conflict to end was futile, he had a mental breakdown. He went from a man that was strong and determined to a man with doubts. This part reminded me of a poem written by spoken word artist, Sarah Kay, "If I should have a daughter." In this poem, she said: "don't you ever apologizefor the way your eyes refuse to stop shining." John, young and determined, still remains hopeful and I identified with him at that moment. His "eyes" were shining in this part and although he was told the truth, he still had hope. Like John, I have some hope about the future, and although the future isn't that bright I still think that I can bring some needed change.

Irene and John are two people. Irene is older, defeated, and has more life experience; John is younger, hopeful, and confident that he will be the key proponent to change. This play made me think hard about the world of politics. Are the people we elected doing anything? Or is human nature and human's stubbornness the main reasons why  change isn't happening? These questions bring back old memories of philosophical debates I would have with my friends. Instead of being in a theater filled with Irene's (old people), I might take a walk in the woods and enjoy nature like Irene and John.

$25 Student Tickets

A Walk in the WoodsKeen Company @ Clurman Theatre, thru Oct. 18