Torrington Stories

GIDION’S KNOT in Thomaston

gidions knot

Sybil Chamberlin and Kailee Donovan prepare for the Backyard Theater Ensemble’s Gidion’s Knot

Why do we go to the theater?

A book is a singular delight and in the hands of an avid reader the imagination creates unlimited possibilities. It is a pursuit that is individual and personal and not a truly shared experience. So reading a book has value, but it is not the theater.

Our most common form of entertainment is viewing stories on a screen. We are used to seeing images and stories on our phones, computers, televisions or a movie theater screens but a story on a screen has limited power. We can pause the story and take a call, get a sandwich, or simply “look up” and we are transported away from the moment. Screens limit the imagination to two dimensions, even “3-D” movies are merely two dimensional tricks with exaggerated weekend monsters.

If two people read the same book, they do not read it in the same way and one person’s imagination will be different from the other. And no matter how great the actor/actress, how perfect the music, how grand the cinematography, we do not feel emotions emanating from any screen, we may only project our individual emotions toward the images bright rectangle in front of us.

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But we go to the theater because we crave the communal experience of shared emotion. We are present. We can’t pause the action and turn away. In that moment when emotions are streaming from a font of talent as the actors/actresses who are real and in front of us lay their souls bare before the audience it creates a transcendent and transformative experience. That experience is truly unique. No show is the same in theater. Every night, every performance there is something new, a new sense of timing, a new rapport with the audience, every night is a show to remember.

A live performance will always have greater importance over cinema because of the great power in the chance of human frailty. When the play is extraordinary, the performers in front of us are on a high wire act of time and tension, emotion and precision. While screen stories are scrubbed of all imperfections and flaws, a play has no edit button, no copy/paste function so there is a chance an actor might miss a line, miss a cue, or simply have mistiming on a joke or piece of dialogue. Yet in the chance of human frailty, the greatest possible wonders of expression are possible. We watch theater to see performers create a special moment that will only be seen that one time, that one place, that one night for that one audience.

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In Thomaston for the next two weekends we have the opportunity to share in something truly special. In Thomaston a show will be performed that has great promise to be a communal experience of shared emotion.  At the Thomaston Arts Center Stage (the black box stage next to the box office in the Opera House), the Backyard Theater Ensemble has worked to create something truly special in Johanna Adams’ “Gidion’s Knot”. Gidion’s Knot tells the story of a parent and a teacher grappling with the tension between societal needs for conformity matched against the desire for individual creative expression even if that expression is disturbing.

It’s an intimate theater with 50 seats for the audience on a raised platform. The set was built by the Ensemble themselves, Director Donato D’Albis is a master carpenter and has created a school room right on the stage. Gidion’s Knot will be performed by acclaimed actresses Sybil Chamberlin and Kailee Donovan, both of whom have real world experience in the school system within Connecticut.  This promises to be a transformative experience worthy of discussion afterward. Fortunately the Ensemble generously allows that time after the performance where the audience can discuss the show with the cast, the director and with a school psychologist.

The performances are August 21, 22, 28, 29 at 8 PM and August 30 at 2 PM. Tickets $20, $17 for Students & Seniors.

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