If you think you have experienced a tough parent teacher conference maybe you should check out Gidion’s Knot.
The Studio Theatre will present the critically acclaimed play by Johnna Adams Jan. 26-28 at the Cody Center for the Performing Arts.
The show begins at 7 p.m. and will run without intermission in the Theatre, the only black-box theater in the Big Horn Basin.
Bethany Sandvik directs and Meghan Nunn and Julie Hogg Hammond star in the drama that depicts a real-time parent/teacher conference.
The teacher and mother are both struggling with overwhelming grief after the suicide of the mother’s son, Gidion.
Gidion’s fifth-grade teacher is played by an actress who knows a little something about education. Hammond teaches reading at Livingston School.
“I am a teacher, so playing the part of a teacher is the easy part of it,” Hammond said. “Playing the part of a teacher whose 11-year-old student committed suicide is not something I have personal experience with. So that part of the story has been the biggest challenge for me.”
The two characters discuss Gidion and his life at school as either the bullied, or maybe as the abuser. Regardless, the story highlights issues in education systems, bullying and self expression.
“This is a very difficult play about a very difficult subject,” Sandvik said. “But what live theatre can do is help us explore a topic from various angles. It fosters empathy and enables us to step out of our comfort zone to ask questions we wouldn’t normally ask ourselves.”
Sandvik said she first read Gidion’s Knot in 2012. Although Sandvik has an immediate connection to it, she had concerns about producing it in Cody.
“It is a play meant for an intimate space, not an auditorium,” Sandvik said. “It’s a play for people who are willing to take an emotional ride, and ultimately those who want to take action.”
Gidion’s Knot contains adults content and language, discussions of suicide, sexuality and of
death and dying. It is not appropriate for all ages.
“I think what’s compelling to me is that we can actually present something like this in Cody and bring a very serious topic to light,” Hammond said. “We are having talkbacks with certified mental health professionals after each play. They will hopefully start dialogue with people so we talk about suicide in our schools as adults, instead of not talking about it.”
The purpose of the Studio Theatre is to create and present work that highlights significant historical and social issues and fosters creativity in all ages, Sandvik said.
Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors and are available online at codyperformingarts.com or by calling the Cody Center for Performing Arts, 527-7398.