"Voyage", the first part of the Coast of Utopia trilogy, is an epic journey through Russian aristocracy and intellectualism. Photo: Jay Yamada

Shotgun Players likes to describe itself as “the biggest little theatre company in town,” and there’s no doubt that the company which calls the Ashby Stage home punches far above its diminutive weight.

Shotgun’s latest coup is to have secured the rights to Tom Stoppard’s “Coast of Utopia” trilogy. “Voyage”, the first in the series, opened on March 14 and has just been extended through April 29 — and it’s more than worth the price of admission.

Directed by Patrick Dooley, “Voyage” introduces us to the young, passionate, idealistic men and women who are as concerned with lighting the fuse of revolution as the flames of love.

Stoppard’s riff on pre-revolutionary Russia is mainly set on the estate of a high-ranking Russian family and proves an entertaining and well-executed journey through Russian aristocracy and intellectualism.

Dooley says he was eager to direct Stoppard’s foray into Russian history. “You can’t help but get swept up in the heady idealism of the young people engaged in the social, cultural activism that led up to the Russian Revolution. The subject matter, the language, the passion in these plays was too much to resist.”

Shotgun plans to mount one play from the trilogy each year through 2014, and then run the shows in repertory.

When: Runs Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm, Sunday at 5:00pm through April 29.

Where: The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley 94703.

Tickets: March 14 – 22 are Pay-What-You-Can. Regular performance nights are $20 Wednesday, $23 Thursday, $27 Friday and Sunday, $30 for Saturdays. Advance reservations strongly advised. Bonus: The Voyage Travel Guide, a short pre-show talk about the play’s young lovers and revolutionaries 30 minutes before every performance led by company members Joanie McBrien and Richard Reinholdt.

For more information visit Shotgun Players or call 510.841.6500

Video: The man who gives Shotgun its visual punch [06.13.11]

To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. We also encourage you to submit your own events.

Avatar photo

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...