The play Gidion’s Knot could have been torn from the headlines of Philadelphia. Realistic and powerful, talented playwright Johnna Adams’ gripping tale, Gidion’s Knot, played to a full house at Interact Theatre on Sunday. It is the intriguing story of the aftermath of a fifth grade boy's suicide after being suspended from school. This play connects with everyone. If you are a teacher, have a child or were a student this play will touch you.
Director Seth Rozin skillfully and artfully took the delicate subject of suicide of a child and led the actors, Alice M. Gatling, the grieving mother looking for answers and Karen Peakes, the teacher dealing with her own difficulties, through the struggle of a disturbing and revealing parent-teacher conference, as they try to untangle Gidion’s Knot. The set design and sound drew the audience emotionally and physically into the play. The adversarial discussion between the mother and teacher took place in the classroom that was so realistically designed it appeared you were actually in a Philadelphia school. In addition, you could feel the rumble of the cars as they seemed to be driving away from the school. Ms. Gatling’s poignant performance as Corryn brought the audience to tears when learning of her son’s difficulties in school. The twists and turns in the play kept you on the edge of your seat while Ms. Peakes’ stellar performance of teacher Heather kept the audience wondering what could happen next.
The play was followed by a lively audience talk-back session with playwright, Johnna Adams, director, Seth Rozin, Alice M. Gatling, Karen Peakes and former School District of Philadelphia’s Guardian Angel of Hope, Dr. Victoria Yancey , guest host. The audience was keen to hear the motivation of the play from the playwright, Johnna Adams who revealed the idea for death was based somewhat on a personal experience of the death of a close friend. Many themes surfaced from the play including bullying, death of a young person, emerging adolescences, school rules, as well as parent, teacher and school districts roles in handling delicate situations.
The audience was transcended from shock to laughter to tears in this moving drama. In the packed audience were several Philadelphia notables including many educators, philanthropists, mediators, attorneys and patrons of the arts, among them were Julie Stephenson, Elizabeth Shoffner, Marco Ward, Marcia Ward, Raina Yancey, Rabbi Charlestein, Laya Martinez as well as, Cheryl Cutrona and Barbara Foxman of Good Sheppard Mediation Program. The audience gave Johnna Adams, Seth Rozin, Alice Gatling, Karen Peakes and all associated with the play even Dr. Yancey an A++ for Gidion’s Knot.
The award winning play is in fourteen venues around the country. Gidion’s Knot is moving and unmissable! It promises conversations, discussions and controversy for years to come. Try to untangle Gidion’s Knot for yourself. You still have time to see Gidion’s Knot at Interact Theatre 2030 Sansom Street in Philadelphia on Feb 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9th. For more information click on the link http://interacttheatre.org/season/gidions-knot/