Join us for our first production in our new home! The Parson's Nose Abbey!
“He must have lied a little. I mean, you can’t speak without some lying.”
In 1835 the Ukrainian short story writer Nikolai Gogol wrote his friend, Alexander Pushkin, requesting a theme for a new comedy. Pushkin sent his notes from an incident in which he was once mistaken for a government inspector, wooed by a mayor and flirted with by the mayor’s wife and daughter. Gogol expanded the notes into “The Government Inspector”, a scathingly comic indictment of corruption and greed in a small Russian town. It couldn’t be more timely.
The Mayor of Kraszny calls his cohorts together and announces an inspector has been sent to investigate the district. They then find out he’s already there, and has been there, snooping around, for two weeks. The “inspector”, of course, is a penniless clerk named Khlestokov who is only too happy to enjoy the town’s overly - gracious welcome.
"Inspector"'s characters are fun to work with as an adaptor, especially because, as Gogol’s commentators expressed, “Not one of them is worthy of sympathy.” When the play was refused a production by the censors Tsar Nicholas himself stepped in and demanded to see it, assuring its success. Afterward, the imperial leader was heard to comment, “He goes after everybody! Especially me!”
PNT presents “Government Inspector” as a “dark” comedy. It’s not farce, Feydeau or Neil Simon. We see it as having very real motivations and play it that way. Our designers use a relatively neutral palate, with Jen Orsini using blacks, greys and blues in her delightful, Braqueish, pop-up backdrop, and Marly Hall using reds only in the occasional babushka or sash in her costumes. We’re trying to add depth to the nightmare, and let the comedy take care of itself. We ask the audience to keep up with our fast-paced story, pausing only, perhaps, to ask, “Did he just say that!?” With Gogol's answer, "Yes."
Come join us. Tell us what you think. A discussion of corruption should be especially invigorating in the times in which we live.
By Lance Davis