YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY:
Friday: Feb. 20th - 7:30 PM
Donations Are Gladly Accepted
Kate Bossi & Arlene Barnard
• For Mature Audiences
• Discussion Follows
Over the course of an unexpected parent/teacher conference in a 5th grade classroom, a mother and her son’s teacher battle over the circumstances that led to Gidion’s tragic death. As the story unravels, the “truth” becomes increasingly complex and alarming. Was he a bully? A victim? A protector? Or, was his imagination too powerful for the adults around him?
The Gordian Knot is a central icon in a 2012 drama written by playwright Johnna Adams. If you know your mythology you will remember that Gordius, the King of Phrygia (now part of Turkey), tied an inscrutable knot that could be untied only by the one person who would come to rule Asia. Alexander the Great cut through the riddle (literally) by drawing his sword and slicing the knot clean through. Problem solved.
Adams’ play “Gidion’s Knot,” also presents an intractable problem...
...a veritable knot of grief, blame, despair and rage. This knot won’t be so easily undone. The Gidion of the title, the central focus of the play, is a fifth grade boy whom we never see. Only two actors appear on stage: Gidion’s mother, a professor of Medieval Literature , and Gidion’s fifth grade teacher. The conceit of the play is a parent/teacher conference, a normal event, you might think , but this conference is like no other.
Johnna Adams (Playwright) received a Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Citation in April 2013 for her play Gidion’s Knot. She is the 2011 recipient of the Princess Grace Award and a 2012 Finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Gidion’s Knot was published in the December 2012 edition of American Theatre Magazine. The Contemporary American Theatre Festival premiered Gidion’s Knot in Shepherdtown, WV, in summer of 2012.
"Those looking for an injection of thought-provoking entertainment as a respite from the endless snow should mark this Friday, February 20th on their calendars. That evening, the York Readers Theater will be performing an encore presentation of their most enthralling play to date, the award-winning "Gideon's Knot," at the York Public Library.
Those familiar with the York Readers Theater will recall its history of high quality, well-acted performances that eschew overcomplicated staging and distracting props in favor of stripped-down productions that focus more on the actors’ performances and complex themes. Local director and Readers Theater co-founder David Newman has created an outstanding showcase for his latest play, which takes on the timeless themes of violence, cultural taboos and victimhood and sets them in a present day classroom for a parent/teacher conference where a mother and her son’s teacher battle over the circumstances that led to her son Gideon’s tragic suicide.
The effect is disturbingly poignant and unfortunately all too believable in a world where incidents of cyber-bulling and youth suicide are an everyday occurrence and where parents and school administrators struggle to balance the encouragement of creative expression with the safety of their kids. As the tension between the mother and her son’s teacher builds, viewers will find themselves torn about how they would respond if their child or one of their children’s classmates had been involved in the circumstances precipitating the play’s events.
We here in the Greater York region are extremely lucky to have a theater company that continues to produce such interesting, professional-caliber shows right in our backyard. But the moral questions and haunting portrayal of the aftermath of a tragedy will stay with you long after you leave the theater.
For more information about the show, visit www.YorkReadersTheater.com."
– York County Coast Star - York Weekly (Written by Matt McTighe)
"…resonant…[a] particularly eloquent study of people caught between the competing demands of reason, morality and family…harrowing…a narrative that is as elegant as it is chilling."
"…heart-stopping…the show has pathos and suspense in bucketloads…Within a lean 80 minutes, the show raises profound questions about parenting and education and documents the gut-wrenching force of maternal loyalty. "GIDION'S KNOT is as sad as life itself, and as funny and startling as well…a beautiful, disturbing story."