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A Walk in the Woods


Sun, Jul 9th, 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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Hoffman Stables

Play Ball!

Sun, Jul 9th, 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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When music meets the land

Sun, Jul 9th, 2000
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Many people are familiar with the expression “The opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings,” but how about “…until the cow bellows,” or “…until the kitten frolics?” This was the case for 1,500 opera-goers last Sunday at the University of Minnesota’s ..... 
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Not in my backyard

Sun, Jul 9th, 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. What’s ..... 
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Wykoff, MN

Sun, Jul 9th, 2000
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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, MN

Sun, Jul 9th, 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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Stewartville, MN

Sun, Jul 9th, 2000
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Stewartville is a small city with a friendly atmosphere lo-cated in the beautiful Root River Valley 10 miles south of Rochester. Known as the Gateway to the Historic Bluff County, Stewartville has much to offer, whether you come for a visit or stay f ..... 
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St. Charles, MN

Sun, Jul 9th, 2000
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St. Charles, known as the Gladiola Capitol, and located at the Gateway to Whitewater State Park to the north and I-90 entrance to S.E. MN. Historic Bluff Country to the south.

It boasts a historic central business district, several year-round ..... 
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Spring Valley, MN

Sun, Jul 9th, 2000
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Sample the Seasons in Spring Valley

Sample spring and rediscover the solitude and harmony of nature. Angle for trout, enjoy wild flowers, take up birding, scout for mushrooms -- these and more can be enjoyed in the countryside near Spr ..... 
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