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Sparking thoughtful conversations at SPT

Seattle Public Theatre takes their middle name seriously. Many of their productions serve as jumping off points for public discussion of serious issues.

A parent/teacher conference becames the stuff of drama in "Gidion's Knot"
A parent/teacher conference becames the stuff of drama in "Gidion's Knot"Rebecca Olson and Heather Hawkins. Photo by Paul Bestock

“I love finding work that speaks to our entire community. This season has been all about inheritance and family,” said artistic director Shana Bestock. “What sorts of legacies we receive and pass along, how our lives are shaped by our education and relationships.”

In “Gidion’s Knot” by Johnna Adams, a parent/teacher conference turns into a confrontation about bullying, responsibility, and who must bear the blame for Gidion's actions.

“It's such a privilege to work on this brilliant script with two amazing actors. Heather Hawkins and Rebecca Olsen are brave, courageous, authentic, truthful,” said Bestock. “While the social issues the play raises are compelling and dynamic, the real juice of the experience is being up close with these two complicated, powerful, incredibly connected women.”

SPT launched a web series, “Untying Gidion’s Knot,” to get people talking about the issues raised. In each episode, members of the community answer the question raised in the play.

“I will be facilitating two post-play discussions,” Bestock added. “The web series was a way to engage folks through social media, but nothing takes the place of a live discussion after a shared experience.”

For those coming to "Gidion’s Knot," Bestock recommends the web series as way to prepare for some of the issues raised in the play. “I'd like to see a mix of parents, educators, theater-goers, and young adults in the audience. I'm looking forward to the discussion!” she added.

Because of the play's intensity, SPT is running “Gidion’s Knot” without intermission and no late seating.

Bestock expects this type of issue-packed performance to attract a good crowd to the little theater on the edge of Green Lake. “Socially relevant theater should be an oxymoron,” she said. “Great theater is great because it is socially relevant. There's humor and wit and suspense in ‘Gidion's Knot.’ There's mystery and catharsis. I'm hopeful that once the word gets out, people will be really excited to come see it!”

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"Gidion’s Knot" opened March 28 and plays through April 20 at Seattle Public Theatre, 7312 West Green Lake Dr. N. For more information, check out the theater’s brand new website.