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A Walk in the Woods


Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
Posted in

Monday, May 8, 2000

Can two actors hold an audience's undivided attention for nearly two hours, with nothing more than a script and a sparse stage? In the case of Commonweal Theatre Company's A Walk in the Woods, which opened at the St. Mane Theatre in Lanesboro on Friday, May 5, the answer is an unequivocal Yes.

This is a masterful play about the serious business of warheads and missile silos and the fate of planet earth. But don't be scared off by the topic. This drama is full of humanity and expectations and hope for mankind. It is both serious drama and high entertainment.

A Walk in the Woods is a conversation between two arms negotiators, an American and a Russian, set in a woods outside of Geneva, Switzerland in the mid '80's. The Russian, Andrey Botvinnik, played by Commonweal veteran Hal Cropp, is a seasoned diplomat who has been negotiating arms treaties with the Americans for years. His counterpart is the newly appointed American negotiator John Honeyman, played by Brett Marston, a newcomer to the Lanesboro stage

While Botvinnik is a wizened old hand at the negotiating table, a patient emissary who knows the detente game well, Honeyman is eager for results, out to prove that the trust the President has placed in him is not misguided. He is full of formality and is bewildered by Botvinnik's invitation to take a walk in the woods at the end of a negotiating session.

In the opening scene, a suspicious Honeyman asks the Russian, "Why are we here?" "To see the woods," Botvinnik replies. "To relax, with no table between us. To become friends."

The concept of friendship is alien to the American, who wants to negotiate results first, then decide whether the two should become friends. But the Russian wants to do away with formality. "Formality is simply anger with its hair combed," Botvinnik tells Honeyman.

The balance of the play continues to build on the relationship between the two men against the tense backdrop of arms negotiations. In the beginning, the American is distant, seeking singular answers to complex problems.

In the second Act, we begin to understand the two sides in geo-political terms.
"History equals geography over time," Botvinnik instructs his younger colleague - America is protected by its oceans, while Russia is flat land open to invasion by the hordes. "America is conquest without competition. Russia is conquest with competition," the statesman explains.
"And what is .....
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Play Ball!

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
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Monday, May 29, 2000

Outside the old St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanes-boro, the sweet strains of the Count Baise and Duke Ellington orchestras float through the warm evening air. Even before entering the theatre, you know you are about to be ..... 
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Play Review: Bus Stop

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
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The Commonweal Theatre has come up with another winner in Bus Stop, a 1950ís comedy by William Inge. Thereís a lot more than just laughs and slapstick going on in this play though. Loneliness, the play-wright seems to be saying, is the shared common ..... 
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Gateway Towns

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
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Austin

Greetings from Austin, Minnesota! Located on I-90, visitors from the west will come through this major city located on the Cedar River.

Austin is the home of the Fortune 500 company -- Geo. A. Hormel & Company. Hormel is the la ..... 
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Northeastern Iowa

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
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Northeast Iowa shares much of the same topography of Historic Bluff Country. Limestone bluffs, meandering rivers, springs, and rolling hills in the east and softly rolling hills with rich prairie soil in the west. Minnesota and Iowa also share the sa ..... 
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Anytown, MN

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
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Nestled in a deep valley of the Root River is the unique city of Anytown. This quaint townsite of less than one thousand residents, located in the state hardwood forest reminds one of the many hillside villages in Norway.

Strolling down the ..... 
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Not in my backyard

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
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Monday, June 26, 2000

In the usually quiet burg of Spring Valley, the hot topic of conversation has switched as of late. While recent flooding has left the community with much to contemplate, another issue is sizzling to the forefront. Whatís ..... 
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Wykoff, MN

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
Posted in

Our limestone karst region is dotted with "sink holes" which indicate caverns below ground such as the caves at Mystery Cave near Forestville State Park.

When you visit the heart of Bluff Country, take the drive on MN Hwy. 80 and you will fin ..... 
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Whalan/Highland area

Sun, Aug 6th, 2000
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Whalan, with a population of 90, is one of the smaller towns along the trail. The town provides excellent access to the Root River Trail and nearby recreational activities. Situated at the midway point between Fountain and Rushford on the Root River ..... 
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