Profiles Theatre continues their 25th Anniversary season with the Midwest premiere of Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams, directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. Performances are at The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway, now playing through March 9, 2014.
Over the course of a 90-minute parent/teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher engage in a fraught conversation about the recent suspension and tragedy involving Gidion. The boy may have been bullied severely -- or he may have done the abusing. The enthralling discussion develops into a dramatically charged collision of freedom of expression, the failure of our school system and personal responsibility.
Gidion’s Knot received its World premiere in July 2012 at The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University in West Virginia. At the 2013 Humana Festival, Gidion’s Knot received the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for best script premiering outside New York. Johnna Adams won the 2011 Princess Grace Award and was a 2012 Finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Other plays include The Anguisher, Hued Moll, Lickspittles, The Sans Merci, Cockfighters and The Sacred Geometry of S&M Porn. Adams’ plays have been read or produced by The Alliance Theatre Lab, The New Group, Impetuous Theater, Rude Guerilla Theater Company, the Hunger Artists Theatre Ensemble and the Chicago Dramatists Workshop among many others.
Directed by Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, the cast of Gidion’s Knot features Guest Artists Amy J. Carle (North China Lover and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo with Lookingglass Theatre) and Laura Hooper (The Revenants at WildClaw Theatre).
"Chicago is where I received my undergraduate degree in Acting from DePaul's Theater School, and I am so excited to have my first Chicago production with Profiles,” says playwright Johnna Adams. “This is an amazing, daring and loving company. Their belief in the play has been so inspiring to me. I consider this a sort of homecoming production. The play is set on the outskirts of Chicago to honor my artistic roots in the city and how perfect for the city to get to see the play! Chicago was a rich place of nurture for me when I lived there and I hope the play let's the community feel some of my love for it in return."
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 and twelve regional productions are planned around the country for the 2013-14 season.
Flux Theatre Ensemble (New York) produced her play Sans Merci in spring of 2013 in New York. The script was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for best play. Her play Skinless was developed at the 2012 MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at the Kennedy Center and read at Rattlestick (New York) in winter of 2012. Her play Lickspittles, Buttonholers, and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens was produced by Impetuous Theatre in autumn of 2013. Johnna’s plays Angel Eaters, Rattlers, 8 Little Antichrists, Sans Merci, Cockfighters and The Sacred Geometry of S&M Porn are published by Original Works Publishing (originalworksonline.com) and a forthcoming edition of Gidion’s Knot will be published by Dramatists Play Serivce, Inc. Johnna graduated from the DePaul University Theatre School with a BFA in Acting and received a 2012 MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College with Tina Howe.
Joe Jahraus (Director) is an Artistic Director and founder of Profiles Theatre and most recently directed Profiles' Midwest Premieres of In God's Hat by Rhett Rossi, The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read and Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson, the American Premiere of In a Forest, Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute as well as Profiles' World Premiere of Assisted Living by Deirdre O'Connor. His other directing credits with Profiles include the Midwest Premieres of Fifty Words by Michael Weller, Jailbait by Deirdre O'Connor, The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute, Great Falls by Lee Blessing, The Thugs by Adam Bock and the World Premiere of Kid Sister by Will Kern. Joe directed the American Premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen and the long-running hit Fat Pig by Neil LaBute for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Outstanding Director. He directed the Jeff Award-winning Blackbird, Babylon Gardens, the Jeff Award-nominated Carnal Knowledge and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Joe was the co-director of Profiles' productions of The Water Engine, The Twilight Zone: The Series and How the Other Half Loves.
The designers for Gidion's Knot are Katie Springmann (set), Mike Durst (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music), and Raquel Adorno (costumes). Danica Horton serves as assistant director.
The cast of GIDION'S KNOT features Guest Artists Amy J. Carle and Laura Hooper.
Amy J. Carle (Corryn) makes her Profiles Theatre debut with Gidion’s Knot. Chicago credits include The Book Thief, Animals Out of Paper, Sex With Strangers, and Hedda Gabler with Steppenwolf Theatre; North China Lover, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Peter Pan, and Trust with Lookingglass Theatre; Season’s Greetings with Northlight Theatre; Orlando at Court Theatre; The Sins of Sor Juana, Rock ‘N’ Roll and Desire Under the Elms at The Goodman Theatre; and Refuge (Jeff Nomination) with CollaborAction. A founding member of the now disbanded Roadworks Productions, Amy appeared in their productions of Ecstasy, WAS, The Planets, The Lights (Jeff Nomination) and many others. Regional credits include Fully Committed and The Diary of Anne Frank with Madison Repertory Theatre; Morning Star with Kansas City Repertory Theatre. She appeared Off-Broadway in the National Tour of The Vagina Monologues and her television credits include Boss on STARZ, Chicago Code on FOX, Law & Order and CRISIS on NBC and The Guiding Light on CBS.
Laura Hooper (Heather) is ecstatic to be making her debut at Profiles Theatre in Gidion’s Knot. She has been an actor and director for over 15 years and has worked with numerous theatre companies, including Famous Door, StageLeft, American Theater Company and the Alley Theatre. Laura is a Pine Box Theatre company member, where she appeared in Hot N’ Throbbing and NEED/Hedges 3, directed by K.Todd Freeman. She played Molly in the mid-west premiere of The Revenants at WildClaw Theatre. In the Fall of 2013, Laura directed The Intruder at Step Up Productions, The Monroe County Pumpkin Queens at WildClaw Theatre and House of Yes at The University of Chicago. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, with a B.A. in Theatre and Dance. She also attended The School at Steppenwolf, where she eventually returned as a Meisner instructor. She has taught at The University of Chicago, Columbia College and The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Five years ago, she opened the doors to her own school, Black Box Acting. She is represented by BMG Talent.
“Recommended! Gidion's Knot is the intriguingly tense new play from emerging writer Johnna Adams. Amy J. Carle is turning in a blistering piece of acting, one of the best of the season, and a breathtakingly broiling and unstintingly authentic performance rendered yet more intense by the close confines of Profiles Theatre's Alley Stage. Carle's work allows the loyal Profiles audience, an audience that knows shows here rarely are dull or predictable, to see some of Chicago's best actors, up close and in this case very, very personal. Jahraus' production is really very jolting and well worth a trip!”
-Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“Recommended! As the two women circle each other, ostensibly waiting for the school's principal to join them, Adams touches on divergent ideas of childhood development and educational policy: Are kids fragile creatures whose innocence must be preserved, or is our overprotective idealism stifling to creativity and natural maturation? They're valid questions, and in Carle and Hooper's pair of tough, vivid performances, Gidion's Knot also becomes an arresting picture of the limits of our ability to fully know even those closest to us!”
-Kris Vire, TIMEOUT CHICAGO
“Highly Recommended! It’s rare to see a play where the entire audience just holds their breath waiting for what’s going to happen next. But Profiles Theatre offers just that with their latest and most intense production, Gidion’s Knot. Playwright Johnna Adams makes this not only a suspenseful showcase for two actresses, but an intriguing insight into human grief. Director Joe Jahraus allows his actors the freedom to build that tension while also exploring their humanity by creating a near claustrophobic environment. If you’re in the mood for some intense theater, Gidion’s Knot is definitely a guarantee!”
-Patrick Dyer, CHICAGO THEATER BEAT
“Highly Recommended! Gidion’s Knot at Profiles is the Midwest Premiere of Johnna Adams’s sharply-drawn play. Laura Hooper as the terrified young teacher and Amy J. Carle as her nemesis are so genuine in their clashes that you expect the classroom (perfectly designed by Katie-Bell Springman) to catch fire at any moment. A sobering but worthwhile look at the unknowability of other people in general and children in particular as they navigate a threatening world by becoming threats themselves!”
-Kelly Kleiman, DUELING CRITICS
“Highly Recommended! A tangle of shifting sympathies and treacherous turns, Johnna Adams’ Gidion’s Knot teeters on a knife edge during every burning second. Profiles Theatre’s Midwest premiere unleashes some desperate truth-telling, one kinetic impact after another. Director Joe Jahraus brings the clashing conversations to a slow boil, the tension hanging in the air like a curse. Like any good drama, the unresolved issues here remind us that the untying of knots is a continual fact of life!”
-Lawrence Bommer, STAGE AND CINEMA
“Recommended! Gidion’s Knot is a provocatively detailed portrait and Amy J. Carle’s performance at Profiles Theatre is wrought with painful precision. Director Joe Jahraus keeps the two actors in kinetic contact, circling and measuring, testing and striking. It’s a quick, heady hour and a half and Carle unfolds a gritty, super-sized performance to be long remembered!”
-Lawrence B. Johnson, CHICAGO ON THE AISLE
“Highly Recommended! I was mesmerized by the performances of Laura Hooper and Amy J. Carle in Johnna Adams’ riveting, well-written Gidion’s Knot. This is theatre at its finest: a rich script played truthfully by two fine actors. Find time to experience this moving work!”
-Tom Williams, CHICAGOCRITIC.COM
“Recommended! The women who have been cast in this play, Laura Hooper as Gidion’s teacher and the dynamic Amy J. Carle as Gidion’s mother are amazingly comfortable with each other and play off each other very well. Director Joe Jahraus skillfully uses the small Profiles space and Katie-Bell Sprigmann’s set is very realistic as we see every little detail taken into account, making the smallest of items take on an important role in this very taut and tense confrontation between the two women!”
-Al Bresloff, AROUND THE TOWN CHICAGO
Our Two Show Flex Pass gives you 4 admissions to see our next two critically acclaimed plays: GIDION'S KNOT by Johnna Adams and COCK by Mike Bartlett. Your 4 admissions can be used in any combination of quantity and date for either production through April 6, 2014 with advance reservations. The 4 ticket pass is only $100 and saves up to $60 off the price of tickets at the door. Call the box office at 773-549-1815 for more information.
Our intimate theatre, located just north of Wrigleyville, is conveniently located one block west of Lake Shore Drive, the Red Line at the Sheridan El stop, and numerous bus routes.