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FHU Theatre to presents “A Walk in the Woods”– a timely Cold War drama

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Freed-Hardeman University’s Theatre program is set to stage “A Walk in the Woods,” featuring two of its own professors, Cliff Thompson and Brandyn Graves, in a gripping Cold War drama. The production promises to delve deep into the complexities of international relations and personal bonds. Performances of “A Walk in the Woods” will be held at the Black Box Theatre April 4, 5 and 6, all at 7 p.m. There will be a matinee performance Saturday, April 6, at 2 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online at fhutickets.com or at the box office.
The story explores diplomacy and human connection with Thompson and Graves taking on the roles of two arms negotiators — one from the Soviet Union and the other from America — during the 1980s Cold War era. Directed by FHU English program faculty member Hannah Graves, the production brings to life the words of playwright Lee Blessing, who noted that true conflict resolution arises when individuals truly see and understand one another, Thompson said.
“With all that’s going on in our world right now, it’s good to remember that nations can achieve peace when two people actually see each other as people. This is at the core of Blessing’s play. Two negotiators with different political views see the humanity in each other,” he said.
Thompson portrays Andrey Botvinnik, a Soviet diplomat, while Graves takes on the role of John Honeyman, an American negotiator. Their contrasting personalities — Botvinnik’s friendliness and affinity for American culture contrasted with Honeyman’s formality and idealism — result in an intriguing dynamic and eventual friendship between the two characters.
In addition to memorizing the lines, Thompson is enjoying the challenge of working alongside Graves, who usually serves as scenic designer for Thompson’s productions. “Brandyn is a fine actor and we’ve known each other for a long time. Our chemistry is apparent onstage, I think,” Thompson said.
Director Graves has enjoyed watching the performances evolve and witnessing the cast and crew’s dedication. “Their passion for the production has been truly inspiring,” she said. “It’s a joy to see the hard work and creativity of each individual contribute to the overall success of the show.”
As professors take center stage, students contribute their talents behind the scenes. FHU senior Jack Joiner showcases his set design skills for his capstone project, while junior Luke Noles oversees lighting design. Additionally, senior Lucas Johnson manages sound design, and senior Sarah Bowen serves as the stage manager.
While the play is sure to entertain students, community members are also encouraged to attend the production and be inspired by its message. “We invite everyone to join us for this and any FHU production as we celebrate the joy of theatre together,” Thompson said.

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