Regional Reviews: Phoenix - Gidion's Knot

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


...Stray Cat Theatre's co-production with Tempe Center for the Arts is well directed with two actresses who exquisitely deliver nuanced performances full of heightened, raw and deep emotions.

Director Tracy Liz Miller and her cast of Alison Campbell and Shari Watts, as Heather and Corryn, respectively, do well to portray the weight these women feel concerning the guilt and pain that the secrets and truths involve and how it almost consumes both characters. Both come across as dynamic and intelligent women who are good people just trying to do what is right, they make choices and decisions that turn out to be bad.

Watts has the flashier of the parts and is a firecracker in her expressive words and facial expressions. Corryn says that she hasn't slept for 72 hours, and Watts' slightly disheveled look and frantic behavior are perfect in evoking this frazzled woman. It's also clear from Watts' solid line delivery that, while Corryn clearly believes in her son's right of self-expression for writing what he did, at first she blames Gidion's death on Heather's reaction for expelling her son and the aftermath of that decision. Yet we see in Watts' steady tone that Corryn also realizes deep down that she believes she could have been a better mother to Gidion and possibly stopped his death from happening. In Watts' superb performance, even though it's clear Corryn is still in denial of what happened, we know that this guilt is something that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Campbell does well to portray the level-headed nature of Heather. The discomfort she feels in initially having this conversation with Corryn, which is beautifully portrayed in the moments of silence, lets us see that Heather is processing what to say and how to respond to Corryn without it being confrontational and while staying within the limits of what she's allowed to say. It is a straightforward, honest and well thought out portrayal.