Walden – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Are you ready for an adventure? Not a jungle cruise, but exciting nonetheless. TheaterWorks Hartford is luring you off your comfy couch to travel into the woods, down a dirt trail, for a theatrical experience that is different and absorbing. Have you ever given any thought to the future of our planet? What might happen if we ignored climate change or didn’t act fast enough to solve the looming questions about food resources and water options?

The fact is that we may run out of farmable soil in a mere sixty years and already today there are millions of people in the world who go to bed hungry. How will we solve these burning issues?

Until August 29, you are invited to enter into a world created by playwright Amy Berryman that raises many of these issues. You-Shin Chen has created a cabin in the woods, with a flourishing garden of vegetables and chickens ensconced in a coop and your seat is ready, with a bottle of bug spray in the chair pocket and headphones to hear so you don’t miss a word of dialogue or a cricket or birdsong.

Come meet Cassie, Jeena Yi, who is just back from the moon after a lengthy one year visit, where she was able to make plants grow. A botanist, she has trained extensively for the honor. Her sister Stella, Diana Oh, also trained for the mission but was not selected. The sisters, twins, have a long history of competition and have been estranged. Now with Stella’s invitation to visit, they finally have an opportunity to reconcile.

Complicating their reunion is Bryan, Gabriel Brown, who wants to marry Stella. Bryan is an earth advocate, wanting to solve the problems right here on this planet and not try to colonize another place, like the moon or Mars.

Cassie has come with an alternative motive: she wants Stella to come back to the NASA program and be her control when she goes on a mission to Mars. Their mother died in childbirth and their father was a famous pioneer astronaut and the sisters are conflicted over which role to pursue. Can they reconcile their differences? Will the issues in space be too great to overcome? How will Bryan’s views color their imminent decisions?

The action in person takes place in Windsor at Riverfront Recapture by the river, 100 Meadow Road, under the careful direction of Mei Ann Teo, with intriguing lighting by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew and vivid sound by Hao Bai.The play will stream until August 29. For tickets ($95 lawn seat, $150 director seat), call TheaterWorks Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at www.twhartford.org. For streaming call for the cost. Shows are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:15 p.m. On August 25, the time changes to 6:45 p.m. This is a regional premiere.

Come immerse yourself in this compelling drama of the future where you will think differently about loneliness and isolation and the fate of the globe. Be a modern day Thoreau. Let the stars and the lightning bugs guide you down a path of reconciliation and understanding as these two sisters try to reconnect with each other and with the earth.