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Dark, invigoratingly sardonic...Constance Congdon s MOTHER is as uncompromisingly savvy as it is bitingly funny.... MOTHER is an exhilarating blend of one of Chekhov s dysfunctional provincial families run through the wringer of Joe Orton s iconoclastic comedy. It s also Maxim Gorky through and through, providing a canny look at Gorky as a dramatic bridge between Chekhov and Brecht. Congdon s A MOTHER is adapted from Gorky s play VASSA ZHELEZNOVA.... MOTHER [is] as much an enlightening rediscovery as an exciting new play. Vassa, a kind of proto-Mother Courage, is the head of a family one generation removed from serfdom and facing a crisis. The husband with whom she s built a fairly successful peat-mining and tile-making business is dying upstairs. Without a will, all their possessions will pass to their two sons the uselessly self-pitying Pavel and the slothful, self-indulgent Semyon, a man who can no longer fit into any of his clothes except pajamas. Congdon s dialogue is crisp, her Gorky-derived characters captivating and her wit devilishly sharp. --Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle
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