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Disturbed student's work ignites teacher and parent in fiery drama

A parent/teacher conference brings high drama and conflict after a student's death brings dramaric emotions to surface.
Rob Smith and courtesy of KC Fringe Festival

"Gidion's Knot" for KC Fringe


Perception and understanding as opposed to conception and misunderstanding pit an angry parent against a young educator in a dramatic piece, “Gidion’s Knot” at the Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri as part of the 2014 Fringe Festival.

Warren Deckert selected the piece as his entry into the 2014 KC Fringe Festival to make its K.C. premiere. “Gidion’s Knot” highlighted the 2012 Contemporary American Theater Festival, he said.

“Over the course of a parent/teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher have a conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother's son, Gidion. As his story is slowly revealed the women attempt to discover the truth behind Gidion's action. ‘Gidion's Knot’ is an intense show with content that is dark and disturbing. Recommended for adult audiences,” according to the KC Fringe program.

Starring Vanessa Harper and Ellen DeShon, strap on your seatbelts for an angry piece that touches the social media and current school voilence. In the piece, a creative misfit, Gidion wrote two pieces that pushed beyond the limits of what other students create. His first piece, about his “grandfather’s corpse” decaying in his grave sent chills and a warning sign to his teacher. She rewarded his writing with at ‘A+’ but the subject matter was beyond what she considered normal.

A second piece resulted in Gidion’s suspension from school and eventual suicide. Seems the young man wrote a piece where teachers and administrators were brutally raped, murdered, disemboweled, dismembered, bodies hung as trophies, eyes gouged out, and body organs used to weave capes–graphic and disturbing–especially to a teacher.

While the teacher found this to be offensive, disturbing, and inappropriate, the mother sees it as artistic expression of the highest degree.

Expect fireworks as the two actresses shift back and forth from aggressor to defendant and back again several times. Harper and DeShon deliver spell-binding performances. The direction of Deckert keeps the piece tight and fast-paced. The drama is phenomenal and shocking. The subject matter is disturbing. The perspectives of each woman is understandable which makes the piece so emotionally enticing to experience.

The show comes with the highest recommendations and should attract a large audience. It is worth of production by bigger venues and is finished and ready to move from Fringe festivals to mainline theater productions.

The show continues at the Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at the KC Fringe website.

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