By David Walters
The United Nations (UN) charter says that its stated purposes are to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and serve as a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.
Nice ideals, but they are dealing with human beings and ideologies, so good luck with that.
There’s a lock-down due to a terrorist threat (eco terrorists) at the UN and three excellencies from Russia, Germany and the new government representative from the nation of Burkina Faso (which means Land of the Upright Man) are instructed to secure-in-place outside of the locked cafeteria until further notice. There is a bathroom still open thankfully, but no escape. Under such conditions could they use this time to solve the world’s problems, or only make matters worse?
The set of United Nations: The Other West is non existent, two chairs in an empty space. That’s perfectly alright as it has a script by Cameron Darwin Bossert that transcends space and fills it with a plethora of intelligence and a great grasp and comprehension of international affairs. It is smart, funny, serious, uplifting, irreverent, insulting, educational, depressing, and extremely thought provoking, so much so that you’ll be contemplating the ideas and view points expressed on stage for a long time to come. What it so succinctly sets up is a clash between a country’s comfortable projected and popularized self-image and its greedier self-serving actions.
The UN permanent resident from Burkina Faso (played with authoritative conviction by Wesli Spencer), where they have recently had a military coup and are contemplating how the country will now be run, has only recently arrived at the UN and is being shepherded by the UN representative from Liason Services (Siobhan Crystal as a charmingly please-everyone idealistic ineffectual innocent) on tours and photo ops. He has not had the opportunity to begin having meetings that he came to New York for. The permanent resident from Russia (Telena Shmulenson, who truly believes in herself and her government and knows the way the world really works) is in constant ideological jousting with the emissary from Germany (polyglot Matthew Sanders is both child-like in his tantrums and adult in his ideals) who represents the Western world’s way of thinking, complete with neocolonialist apologies and a short temper for ineptitude (which is rampant everywhere). Liason Services finally decides to let them break the lock-down and go off on their own despite the protocol because, “if I let you guys stay here talking any longer, it’s going to be a threat to international peace and security.”
Human foibles clashing with self-proclaimed self-importance that both entertains and educates makes for a great evening of theater.
Thirdwing is a subscription based hybrid theater and streaming company. Do look at their many offerings. Everything I’ve seen that they’ve produced has been a winner and well worth your time. Get your tickets here.
Thirdwing presents in association with Out of the Box Theatrics United Nations: The Other West written and directed by Cameron Darwin Bossert.
With: Matthew Sanders, Wesli Spencer, Yelena Shmulenson, and Siobhan Crystal.
Approx 80 min
154 Christopher St #1E, New York, NY 10014