The aftermath of a fifth-grader’s suicide, realized in a visceral confrontation between the boy’s grieved but hostile mother (Jyl Kaneshiro) and his stricken teacher (Carla Nell), consumes the 75 tense minutes that is Johnna Adams’ Gidion’s Knot, running through Saturday at Diversionary Theatre’s Black Box space. You’ll be consumed, too, by this brutal, claustrophobic play’s disturbing and violent imagery. The propped-up debate about creative freedom in the classroom (and of childhood) is never really a debate at all as the mother resorts to cruelty while the teacher sobs and submits. InnerMission Productions’ Gidion’s Knot spares none of Adams’ ferocity. It makes for a discomfiting after-school experience, even without the presence of the principal. (Originally reviewed in San Diego CityBeat on 6/7/17)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.