The Gustavus Theater Department brings The Government Inspector to the stage in a comedic and highly entertaining adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s Ukrainian-Russian satiric play. Set in early 19th century Imperial Russia over the course of a day, this comedy of errors focuses on the extensive social and political corruption that undermines a small Russian town. Directed by Henry MacCarthy, this production will be presented in Anderson Theatre on February 21 – 23 at 8:00 p.m. and February 24 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for the production are available online at www.gustavustickets.com or by calling the Gustavus Ticket Center at 507-933-7590.
“This play is just so different from the other plays that we’ve done in the recent past. The other ones have all been so specific towards achieving a certain message. This one is for entertainment. It will be a really fun show,” junior theater major and cast member Comfort Dolo said.
Theater professor and director of the show Henry MacCarthy adapted David Harrower’s 2011 version of the play to stage.
“Supposedly, as the story goes, writer Alexander Pushkin told Gogol this anecdote about a very tiny, very corrupt town in Russia that was completely off the radar. Everyone, from town officials to the citizens was very corrupt. They found out that a government inspector was on his way to examine the town. Everyone freaked out and started frantically trying to hide their deeds,” MacCarthy said.
The ensemble, featuring a cast of 24 and a crew of well over 40 has been working steadily for the past few months. Over the course of the school’s January interim experience, the ensemble worked intensively, fine-tuning everything from lines, to costumes, to lights.
“The show is really funny and a bit more accessible than previous plays we’ve done. It’s a classic Russian farce, meant for a wider audience that can digest it easily,” junior theater major and costume designer Jessica Van Kempen said.
The large cast features many first-years students and students new to the theater department at Gustavus.
“At first I thought [the large cast] might be little bit overwhelming, but we came together and formed a close bond. Our chemistry onstage was developed by our time spent together in rehearsal and from the time we specifically set out side to hang out with each other out of the theater,” Dolo said.
“The students involved are completely engaged and invested in the production. In terms of success, it’s great to see. I think the cast has managed to come out with a product that’s really good quality,” MacCarthy said.
The entire production process has been a learning project for many of the members involved.
“One of the best successes with the show is with the costume shop. The time period of the show and what we have in stock really pushed us to see what students could accomplish. My main job as costume designer was helping the students, being a teacher to them and making sure everything was where Henry and I wanted it to be, “Van Kempen said.
Or, in the words of junior theater major and cast member Rob Ward, “The process has been collaboration and a question of what I can bring to the table. It has been in awesome in helping me think more critical as a performer, as an actor, and just bettering myself. Personally, this is the cause for all the plays I do. It makes me remember why I love doing theater.”
The show will be performed in the Anderson Theater on Feb. 21, 22, and 23 at 8:00 p.m. and on Feb. 24 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are currently available online at gustavustickets.com and in person at the Gustavus Ticket Center.