REVIEW by Bill Eienring
Theater Row (6/16-6/27/22)
Johnna Adams. Playwright
David E. Shane, Director
Laura King Otazo
(Photo provided by Dan Lane Williams (DLW Photography)
If you are a lover of theater, and not triggered by the suicide of a preteen boy, then rush to get tickets to
Gidon’s Knot at Theater Row. Johanna Adams has written a play of extraordinary quality, Director David
E. Shane has embraced Adams text and actors Nicola Bertram and Laura King Otaza do a fantastic job
transferring Adams words and Shane’s vision to the stage.
This 90 minute gem is far better than much that has made it to Broadway and has writing as good as How I Learned to Drive.
Gidon is 11 years old and suspended from school. A day later he commits suicide by handgun. His mother
wants to understand why. She shocks his teacher by keeping the appointment she was requested to make
after the suspension. The confrontation is both “gentile” and devastating.
A grieving mother striving to understand why an institution where she had sent her son to be both safe
and academically challenged failed him on both counts. Gidon’s mother would love to untie the Gordian
Knot that triggered her son’s death, but, when she leaves her meeting, we are fairly certain she has
recognized that she needs to cut it.
Adams challenges the audience to recognize the difference between who Gidon’s teacher presents herself
as and who she actually is. Just as Lucas Hnath in Dana H. required audiences to reject their vision of
what a mother “must” be, Adams, more subtly than even Hnath, needs the audience to see through teacher “Heather’s” veneer and see who “Heather” is.