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Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts Presents Talkback and Teacher Discount for Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams

February 1, 2018

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts presents Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams Feb. 8 – 18 at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL. The compelling production stars Sonya McCarter as Corryn Fell and Lauren Drexler as Heather Clark. Gidion’s Knot is directed by Rachael Endrizzi and with assistant director Sima Robbins.

Amidst the fallout from her 5th grade son’s suspension from school, a mother demands answers. What begins as a highly charged parent/teacher conference with Gidion’s reticent teacher soon develops into a revelatory confrontation that burrows under the surface of bullying, failures of the education system, and freedom of expression.

“I am fascinated at Ms. Adams ability to layer so much power, emotion, suspense and subtext into so few words,” says Endrizzi in a director’s note. “The play itself is short, but loaded with so many thought provoking questions. The script eloquently addresses the issues of guilt, artistic censorship, and maternal loyalty set against the backdrop of today’s education system.

There is no intermission. Individual tickets to each show are $25, $11 for students or $22 for Alliance members. Teachers receive an exclusive $10 ticket price with promo code TEACH. Valid IDs must be presented at the time of ticket pick-up to redeem. Performances run February 8-10 and 15-17 at 8 p.m. and February 11 and 18 at 2 p.m.

A talkback with school principals Mara Vertrees (Diplomat Elementary) and Ken Savage (James Stephens International Academy) and cast will take place after the February 18th performance. Talkbacks are open to the public and allow the discussion of ideas, themes and performance of the play. Seasoned educator and the Alliance for the Arts’ Assistant Director Brandi Couse will moderate.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the box office at 239-939-2787 or visit www.ArtInLee.org/Theatre.

About the Panel

Mara Vertrees began her career in education 20 years ago after first working as a newspaper reporter and as a child advocate and parent education leader. She taught middle school Language Arts and Social Studies for eleven years before going into administration. After working as an Assistant Principal at a middle school and a K-8 school she was offered the position of Principal at Diplomat Elementary. Mrs. Vertrees is honored to be working at Diplomat Elementary with such a very fine and dedicated staff of teachers and support personnel. And she is fully committed to the vision of Diplomat as a Quality School with high expectations of learning for all.

Ken Savage, Principal at James Stephens International Academy, has been named one of three finalists for Florida’s 2018 Principal of the Year by Florida Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart. Mr. Savage’s 10 years of administrative experience in Lee County includes successful experiences at Cypress Lake Middle School, Dunbar High and Veteran’s Park Academy for the Arts. Mr. Savage was appointed as a turnaround principal for James Stephens International Academy in 2016 and in one year helped his school improve from an F to a B (based on 2016-17 school grades). He is commended for being a self-starter and critical thinker, and he is known as a diligent data user who always focuses on the ultimate goal – student achievement.

Brandi Couse joined the Alliance in the summer of 2013 after many years working as a professional musician and 17 years of teaching music in Florida’s public schools. As an educator Brandi was passionate about advocating for the inclusion of arts in education. When she decided to leave the classroom she was delighted to find a place where she was tasked with creating more opportunities for artists, community, and society. Having personally experienced the power of arts involvement, from finding a way to voice her ideas to learning the value of hard work and a quality product, Brandi wants to pay it forward and make sure others have a key to that experience.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the box office at 239-939-2787 or visit www.ArtInLee.org/Theatre.

What the Critics Say:

“…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.” —Washington Post

“…a riveting, explosive drama.” – Chicago Critic

“Gidion’s Knot is is as sad as life itself, and as funny and startling as well…a beautiful, disturbing story.” —DCTheatreScene.com

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the box office at 239-939-2787 or visit www.ArtInLee.org/Theatre.

About Lauren Drexler

Lauren Drexler was most recently seen in 33 VARIATIONS and KAYAK. Lauren has long created memorable roles in Theatre Conspiracy’s new plays and world premieres, including Becoming Eleanor, The Dunes, Here Lie the Demons, and Virgin Tears on Wyoming Avenue. Among her other favorite productions are The Kathy & Mo Show, Medea, Romance in D, Romantic Fools, No Exit, Dancing at Lughnasa, Frankie & Johnnie at the Clair de Lune, and The Eight: Reindeer Monologues.

About Sonya McCarter

Sonya McCarter is a native of Fort Myers and the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Alliance for the Arts. Sonya’s directing credits include The Bluest Eye, Seven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Sonya has been seen performing locally in For Colored Girls (Theatre Conspiracy), Good People (Naples Players), and Doubt, A Parable (Naples Players).

About Rachael Endrizzi (Director)

Endrizzi is thrilled to return to Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts with this show and this cast. Previous Theatre Conspiracy directing credits include: 33 Variations, The Bible: Complete Word of God (Abridged), Red Herring, Mr. Burns, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), All the Great Books (Abridged) and Shipwrecked!. Rachael has also been on the Theatre Conspiracy stage as an actor in Almost, Maine, First Time, Love Loves a Pornographer and others. She is a graduate of the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in NYC and the former Education Director for Florida Repertory Theatre. Currently, she works as an actor and director throughout the Southeast and resides outside Cleveland, OH where she has opened her own company, Spark Theatre.

About Sima Robbins (Assistant Director)

Robbins could not have chosen a better play, director, cast and theater than Gidion’s Knot to get her feet wet in Fort Myers. In Pennsylvania, she performed in community theater, and as an English and Theater teacher, she directed many high school plays, including Don’t Drink the Water, Enter Laughing, Dracula, and JB. When she relocated to Delaware, she performed in and directed several community theater productions, including You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, Talking With, and Hold Me, a cutting of which went on to the state one act play festival to win her the director’s award. In the early 90s, she transitioned from writing fiction and poetry to playwriting. Then, as associate creative director for First Stage Theater Company, she joined with her mentor, playwright and novelist, Drury Pifer, in directing the premiere of his play Strindberg in Hollywood, which was then produced at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in D.C. before being picked up in Norway, England, and Germany. First Stage also produced two of her plays, Man Imperfect and Athena at the Rittenhouse, in various venues throughout Delaware. She and her husband Gary are active in the Pachamama Alliance of Southwest Florida and feel fortunate to have relocated to Fort Myers, for its warm weather, wonderful beaches, welcoming people, and wide array of quality live theater. Their 20-year old cat, Zen, seems quite content as well.

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