TRTC’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’ a timely look back
Two arms negotiators — an American and a Soviet — take a stroll in the woods above Geneva, Switzerland, in the 1980s during the height of the Cold War. Along the way they debate politics, life and the future of the free world. But despite the gravity of their negotiations, and differences in temperament, they form an unlikely personal bond.
That is the basis of Lee Blessing’s play, “A Walk in the Woods,” which opens Thunder River Theater Company’s 24th season this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Director Corey Simpson said that part of the reason TRTC chose the play was the timeliness of its subject matter.
“It’s always nice as a theater company to find a piece that is incredibly timely, that also combines drama and a lot of comedy,” Simpson said. “You look at the politics that are involved in the piece, and though the play was written in 1988, unfortunately, all of the topics in this play are still completely relevant today when you look at the situation that’s going on with Russia, and when you look at what’s going on with other nuclear powers like India and Pakistan, North and South Korea.”
Another reason Simpson wanted to do the play, he said, is that it showcases two talented local actors — Bob Moore and Wendy Tennis.
Moore is a longtime valley resident and Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award winner (Colorado’s version of the Tony Awards) who is familiar to local audiences from his roles in TRTC productions including “Of Mice and Men,” “The Price,” “Freud’s Last Session,” “The Gin Game” and “Red Herring,” as well as his one-man cabaret show. He also performed with the Glenwood Vaudeville Review from 2010 to 2013, and played Tevye in Defiance Community Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Tennis is also a longtime valley resident and has been acting and directing in a variety of theaters for over 30 years. Some of her favorite roles have been in “A Picasso,” “Noises Off,” “The Laramie Project” and “A Few Good Men.” She also has directed “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” and “Deathtrap.” She recently directed one of TRTC’s Theater for Young Audiences productions.
Thunder River Theatre Company has been gaining more recognition for its productions statewide over the past few years, and this summer it was nominated for 11 Henry Awards, winning four, including Owen O’Farrell, Best Actor in a Play for “Of Mice and Men”; Brittany Dye, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for “Equus”; Madeline Miles and Colin Tugwell, Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2 for “Equus”; and Sean Jeffries, Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2 for “Equus.”
“For us to be winning awards alongside big players like the Denver Center and the Arvada Center, that’s really exciting,” Simpson said. “And for that to be happening in this tiny little mountain community is really unbelievable.”
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