Aaron Francis' bold scenic design has the audience seated in school desks for Gidion's Knot, getting you into the right frame of mind for Johnna Adams' intense one-act showdown between a fifth-grade teacher and a parent. Corryn (Vonessa Martin) shows up for a teacher-parent conference, having been summoned a few days earlier by Miss Clark (Paula Cale Lisbe) after she inexplicably suspended Corryn's son, Gidion. The 11-year-old child has since committed suicide, so Miss Clark assumed the meeting wasn't going to happen, and she's ill prepared when Corryn shows up anyway, wanting answers. The bereft mother becomes increasingly incensed by the teacher's evasive behavior. Throughout the play, certain details are clawed into the open, such as Miss Clark's scant two years of experience as a teacher — something that Corryn, a graduate professor of literature, pounces on — as well as some unexpected common ground. Adams' short (barely 80-minute) play is a well-crafted and powerful experience, tackling heavy subject matter including bullying, suicide and schoolyard homophobia. A scathing indictment of the incompetency of school officials, Adams' script is confrontational and thought-provoking.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Starts: Nov. 2. Continues through Nov. 24, 2013

LA Weekly