PACA's Powerful Gidion's Knot Untangles Tough Issues
Powerhouse actors Schillinger and Neubert-Lechner drive thought-provoking play
Premiering Friday, Jan. 7
When you see a show at PACA, it's an immersive experience. The boundaries of set and stage seem to quickly fade away as you are close enough to the action to become fully engrossed in the storytelling. This intimate setting provides the perfect space to see Gidion's Knot, a thought-provoking play written by Johanna Adams.
Gidion's Knot is intense and takes place over the course of a parent/teacher conference. A grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher have a fraught conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother's son, Gidion. Gidion may have been bullied severely — or he may have been an abuser. As his story is slowly uncovered, the women try to reconstruct a satisfying explanation for Gidion's act and come to terms with excruciating feelings of culpability.
"This play is beautifully written and yet difficult to hear and watch," said Lisa Simonian, the show's director. "It deals with timely yet terrible issues such as abuse, bullying, and suicide that only continue to grow as our society has changed, particularly given the isolation of the pandemic and the changing mores of a society very dependent on social media. It discloses the side of children that their parents don't see when they are in school. I'm hopeful that all who watch will have a new respect for our teachers and a raised level of consciousness for the mental health and well-being of our children."
The themes of Gidion's Knot are complex and expertly conveyed through a cast of two local powerhouse actors, Nora Schillinger and Kate Neubert-Lechner. The two women are set in a classroom together for 85 minutes and their chemistry together is something to witness. "There are intimate pauses throughout and the facial expressions and body language of the actors are key to telling this story," Simonian said. "There are times when the emotions simply radiate from these women into the audience and I think much of that might be lost in a larger space."
"This play is important to see because of the raw humanity, the undisguised grief, and the brief relationship between two women who are trying to cope with the unthinkable," explained Simonian. "It is important to see this play and consider our own relationships and how we might help each other survive. It is important not to miss the sheer blazing talent of Nora Schillinger and Kate Neubert-Lechner." — Amy VanScoter
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Jan. 22 // PACA, 1505 State St., second floor // $15, $10 to livestream online // For tickets and more info, go to www.paca1505.org