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SF Gate, 12-17-2003


-- Anna Mantzaris, special to SF Gate

A three-hour play with two intermissions, plays within a play and an appearance by Chekhov is a lot to ask of an audience, not to mention its hard-working actors. But almost every minute of playwright/director Mark Jackson's epic work is well deserved. Exploring the life of Russian actor, teacher and director Vsevolod Meyerhold -- passionately portrayed by Cassidy Brown -- Jackson takes the Shotgun Players through Meyerhold's life and career from the early 1900s until his execution, ordered by Stalin, in 1940, moving through time and space with poetic license. From auditions for "The Seagull" at the Moscow Theatre to the first meeting with Zinaida Raikh, the woman who becomes his second wife, this cleverly staged, in-depth exploration of the artistic genius who lost everything in a time of political upheaval is worth the commitment.

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