The winning review: All or nothing
A Walk in the Woods, contrary to the popular belief has nothing to do with peace. It’s of the feeling of helplessness that an Indian and a Pakistani diplomat come to terms with through a series of conversations. They are contrasting characters. Mr. Chinnappa is a stiff professional, while Mr. Jamal is existential. They go through a gamut of emotions in their conversations, before finally opening up to each other. The strangest part about this play is that, it doesn’t favour either side but neither is it neutral. The play can be everything you want it to be or nothing at all.
Hope and despair
The actors brilliantly portrayed the hope and despair of Indo-Pak diplomats and exposed the the hollow political will in the two countries. The play put both Indian and Pakistan Governments in the dock. The humour in the dialogues never appeared contrived and the director needs to be complimented for bringing out the best from two seasoned actors.
Was it a dream?
Watching legends such as Naseeruddin Shah and Rajit Kapur on stage was memorable. The play shakes us out of our beliefs and prejudices. Has this diplomatic race turned us into new creatures? Two diplomats forced to act as mediators, take a walk into the woods to try and solve the problems. The play left the viewers thinking about our lives. Has victory become more important than human lives and peace?
Blessing in disguise
The sparkling dialogue laced with humour, the sheer brilliance of its delivery, the ease with which such a serious subject was tackled formed the substance of the play. The realisation of the futility of negotiations, yet the love and friendship developed on a personal level was so refreshing.
The music and the poetry blended to make the finished product a masterpiece. Lee Blessing would be most happy with the adaptation.
A Walk in the Woods is an excellently constructed paradox; the fact of adaptation does not seem to reduce the ‘originality’ of Motley’s brilliantly directed presentation. Spartan stage props and apt background music brought the troubled worlds of millions before us. Instead of focusing on depression, I would like to think the play was cathartic. We still cling to Pandora’s last gift , “Hope”.
Food for thought
Most plays entertain you, some plays make you think. Walk in the woods did both and brilliantly! Everything from lighting to music were masterly. The play was well-written and well-directed. For a Naseeruddin Shah and a Byomkesh Bakshi fan like me, it was also an evening well-spent!!
A walk in the park
The Indian adaptation of Lee Blessing’s celebrated play was quite literally a walk in the park for Naseeruddin Shah and Rajit Kapur. So brilliant were the two that the audience was mesmerised. A combination of subtle and hard-hitting humour delivered with perfect timing and panache made the play truly absorbing. The charade of Indo-Pak diplomacy is superbly laid bare. Kudos to Ratna Pathak Shah for directing the play brilliantly.
We walked in expecting a high-browed analysis of Indo-Pak ties. The play made us think, but it was also entertaining. The diplomats made us feel their hopes and frustrations. Such was the magnetism of the actors that a wooden bench and two tree stumps were enough to create magic in the woods!
For every one
The lead actors made the audience laugh, yet got the message across. This is one play that does not upset anyone’s sensibilities and must be watched by Pakistanis and Indians across the world.
A gift for Rajit
Mr. Kapur is orange really your favourite colour? I ask you this because I also want to gift you something, if not a tie then at least a belt!
Shades of grey
The play reflects the dark shades of diplomacy between India and Pakistan, and the murky reality of peace proposals drafted over years. The stellar performances by Rajit Kapur, a dogged Indian diplomat and Naseeruddin Shah, a cynical Pakistani diplomat were wonderful. Naseer's sarcasm and Rajit’s poker-faced humour left us laughing throughout. The line that stood out for me was when Jamal (Naseerudding Shah) points to the trees and says, “Very soon these trees will be cut down to make negotiation tables”