When Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods opened in 1988 at the Lucille Lortel Theater and then moved to Broadway, Ronald Reagan was President and the Soviet Union had not yet collapsed. Blessing’s two-character play about a Russian and an American diplomat discussing arms reduction in a series of meetings in Geneva was fresh and timely—and splendidly acted by Sam Waterston and Robert Prosky.
Scott Organ’s opening scene for The Thing With Feathers is deceptively creepy for anyone attuned to the dangers of the Internet. A young girl, Anna (Alexa Shae Niziak), is sitting on her bed, with paperwork around her, and she’s talking to a man named Eric—someone she has never met. They have clearly bonded online over poetry, particularly Emily Dickinson. They recite stanzas of Dickinson’s “Life” to each other: “For each ecstatic instant/We must an anguish pay/In keen and quivering ratio/To the ecstasy.” The voice gently probes elements of her home life and her relationship with her mother. The scene promises a literate, solidly structured drama, and it delivers.