BWW Reviews: GIDION'S KNOT a Visceral, Fierce Look at Bullying and Child Suicide
If you decide to see Gidion's Knot, and you should, take this word of caution. Be prepared to feel punched in the gut. This play will hit you, demand that you think, and will put you through a fair share of pain. I guarantee that it's worth it. Gidion's Knot may be uncomfortable, but it's definitely one of the best and most powerful dramas to come along in quite some time.
The play, written by Johanna Adams, is a 90 minute tour-de-force in which we witness a parent teacher conference between a rather inexperienced elementary school teacher (Rebecca Robinson) and Gidion's mother (Emily Erington) just days after Gidion was suspended from school and immediately committed suicide. Over the course of the evening, we slowly realize that both women are in a pressure cooker and despite their efforts to save face, both are barely able to keep it together.
Director Lily Wolff creates a palpable tension between the two by constantly separating them by a vast amount of space. Mark Pickell's set, with its clusters of desks and sterile educational posters, adds to the unpleasant environment. The clean, bright setting wonderfully clashes with the dark subject matter, making it all feel even darker.
You're far more likely to remember Erington and Robinson than anything else. Both turn in unbelievable performances. As Heather, Robinson gives an honest portrayal of a nervous, mournful, and guilt ridden teacher. But Erington's gives a more domineering performance. She's quiet, cold, intense, dangerous, and wonderfully unpredictable. She leads the conversation throughout the evening, sometimes to the point where it feels like Heather is on trial.
While these two actresses could create memorable, well-developed characters out of anything, the text by Adams gives them plenty to work with. Adams is equally as successful at discussing bullying and suicide without preaching at us or belittling the issues. She's able to devote enough attention to the topics without letting them overwhelm the play, and more importantly, she doesn't offer a solution which seems fitting. While we all could be more mindful of bullying and of warning signs of childhood depression, those are preventative measures, not solutions. These topics will always cause problems and bring tragedy in their wake.
Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.
GIDION'S KNOT, produced by Capital T Theatre, plays the Salvage Vanguard Theatre at 2803 Manor Road. Performances are Wednesday 2/5 - Saturday 2/8 at 8pm. For tickets and information, please visit www.capitalt.org