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'Gidion's Knot' (review): A play outside the box

Bridget Beirne as Heather Clark
Bridget Beirne as Heather Clark
All photos are by Bruce Bennett. Courtesy of Stage Repertory Theatre

No matter how hard we try, we all fail. We fail one another and we fail ourselves. This overwhelming theme is front and center in the regional premiere of "Gidion's Knot". This play is filled with tough, harsh moments and tender, heartbreaking scenes that will be sure to bring the audience to the brink.

On the surface, an unsuspecting audience member might come into this play not understanding the magnitude of what they will be seeing. A simple fifth grade teacher, Ms. Clark (Bridget Beirne), who sits anxiously awaiting a call in her classroom for something gets interrupted by a parent looking for a parent/teacher conference. Little could either person realize the complexity, power, questions and speculations that come from this seemingly simple, common setting.

The audience quickly realizes this meeting is anything typical. The mother, Corryn Fell (Shelley Calene-Black, apparently has come shortly after losing her son to suicide. Both actresses are strong, dynamic and command the stage with their mere presence. You are torn between understanding and emotions for both characters. Both characters and actresses are equally paired, with determination and conviction for their views and actions. You are pulled between feeling anger, sadness and empathy for each character as they literally and metaphorically struggle with the decisions they made and how it played on the outcome of a boy’s life.

Just when you think you understand where you think the play is going, it switches gears and takes you completely by surprise. Playwright Johnna Adams masterfully crafted this dynamic between these two characters in order to highlight the social and human issues that are shown throughout the play. You will be asked to question all you think you know or feel about society, suicide, freedom of speech, artistic expression, on top of a thousand other issues. This play is multilayered and each detail is skillful chosen to further intensify the central themes. Upon further research about Gordian's knot, one can clearly see the distinction of the ways that this is handled paralleled with the characters on stage. Adams skillfully weaves other facts and items into the story to serve similar purposes.

This play will leave you talking about the content and moving performances. This adult themed play hits hard and will have you walking out questioning your ideals and opinions. It's eye opening and a true play to be experienced. Don't miss your chance to see "Gidion's Knot" at Stages Repertory Theatre. Ticket info can be found by going online here or call the Stages Box Office at 713.527.0123 during theses hours: Monday-Saturday: 12:00PM-6:30PM and Sunday: 12:00PM - 4:00PM. Playing now through April 6th. Come out with an open mind and a tissue or two handy, it's sure to stir the emotions and get you thinking.