Lee Blessing’s plays are built on the concept of two people exploring troublesome questions. In his best known play A Walk in the Woods, it was nuclear disarmament and global politics. In Going to St. Ives at Barrington Stage Company, the subject turns to colonialism and the brutal carnage of politics in Africa, raising troubling questions about morality, politics and personal responsibility. It is an intellectual night out with big and troubling issues.
You could say that Blessing is an explorer. He writes small plays around big ideas. These works often take unusual routes to get to their heart, but after seeing one of his works, Going to St. Ives for example, you find yourself understanding some aspect of the world a while lot better. You could summarize this play as the tale of two mothers who conspire to kill one of their sons. But that would miss the whole point.
That Barrington Stage has undertaken another of Blessing’s works (BSC did Black Sheep in Sheffield in 2002) is not surprising. He is a brilliant expository writer whose works exude dramatic flair along with the clash of ideas.