K2 is a mountain, second tallest in the world, that lies on the border between China and Pakistan.
“K2” is also a play, written by Patrick Meyers, that will open Friday at Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d’Alene.
The story centers on two men – the play’s only characters – who find themselves facing difficult discussions and making hard choices when one of them is injured at 27,000 feet.
Director Troy Nickerson said the idea to do “K2,” which isn’t often (if ever) performed in the Inland Northwest, came from George Green, Lake City’s artistic director and an avid climber. Green co-stars with Todd Kehne, another climber.
“He’s been talking about it for years, so he finally just decided they were going to do it,” Nickerson said.
This dialogue-heavy drama had a short run on Broadway in 1983 and inspired the 1991 film of the same name. Lake City’s production, Nickerson said, will feature “two very skilled actors telling a great story about relationships and what it is to be a human being, and how much care you have for your friends.
“It’s a lovely piece,” he added. “It’s a bit intense here and there, but it’s lovely.”
The two-man piece is a bit of a change for Nickerson. A welcome change.
“I do such big huge musicals, with 38 people in them sometimes. So much of that is crowd control,” he said. “When you have two people, you can really just concentrate on the work and the script, and with two such talented actors, it’s nice. It’s relaxing.”
The play has one set – an icy mountain ledge with a climbing wall, 1,200 feet below K2’s summit. And for a play about mountain climbing, there’s actually very little movement, which can pose a challenge.
“You don’t want a lot of movement. These guys are freezing way up in the air. They wouldn’t be moving around a ton,” he said. “You have to really, then, be more about crafting the language and making sure the peaks and valleys, how it flows, the intensity of it, that the words are enough to carry the show through.”