Play Review: A Walk in the Woods
Theatre group Motley’s latest play, A Walk in the Woods, hinges on the exhausted subject of Indo-Pak relations. Countless plays have mined the topic and the farce that is bilateral diplomacy is played out in the newspapers on a daily basis. After watching Ratna Pathak Shah’s directorial debut, we wished that the play had been a farce. The cat-and-mouse game played by India and Pakistan is begging to be lampooned in an intelligent comedy in the style of In the Loop, Armando Iannucci’s crackling film on Anglo-American diplomacy and the “war on terror”. A Walk in the Woods, however, is a tired rant on the chronically abortive nature of the diplomacy between our country and her most prominent neighbour.
The acting, nevertheless, is top notch. Rajit Kapur and Naseeruddin Shah star, respectively, as an Indian and a Pakistani diplomat who take a stroll through the woods in Geneva where they have come to attend an official conclave. The play is an adaptation, by Faisal Rashid and Randeep Hooda, of Lee Blessing’s 1988 drama, which took its cue from a real meeting between a Russian and an American diplomat during the Cold War.
Jamaluddin Lutfullah (Shah) is a playful cynic, seasoned by years of political parleys. On the other hand, his Indian counterpart, Ram Chinappa (Kapur) is doggedly optimistic that their meeting will improve relations between the two countries. The walk is Lutfullah’s idea. A cheery chap, he’d rather chat about topics other than politics. Chinappa, a stern fellow with no patience for banter, is at pains to be businesslike but is eventually grudgingly admiring of Lutfullah.
The first half of A Walk in the Woods is eminently watchable owing to the light-hearted exchanges about the ridiculous politics of diplomacy. The merits of proposals designed to improve relations are of little consequence. What matters is who gets credit. Neither country wants to be seen as accepting a proposal drafted by the other as that would imply that the rival is the bigger person. The second half however is weighed down by a lot of painful earnestness. Gone is the playful sparring. Instead we’re served harangues that seem as never-ending as the Indo-Pak peace process.
A Walk in the Woods will be staged on Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5 at the Swatantryaveer Savarkar Smarak Sabhagriha. See below for details.Tags: A Walk In The Woods, Naseeruddin Shah, play reviews, plays, Rajit Kapur, Ratna Pathak Shah, Swatantryaveer Savarkar Smarak Sabhagriha, Theatre
Swatantryaveer Savarkar Smarak Sabhagriha
LocationNext to the Mayor's Bungalow
PhoneCall 97681 08252 for ticket availability
Relevant DatesSaturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5
Ticketing & Price InfoRs200, Rs300 and Rs500