(Robert Hurwitt’s article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/13.)

Seldom has Passover's celebration of escape from bondage hit such complex, resonant chords as does the makeshift Civil War seder in Matthew Lopez's "The Whipping Man." But then, you don't often feel an entire audience squirm as uneasily the way it did during the amputation scene at the play's Marin Theatre Company opening Tuesday.

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