“The Government Inspector” by Nikolai Gogol
Directed by: Giannis Kakleas
Venue:Royal (Vasiliko) Theatre
Opening: 29 September 2023
Duration: 105 min (no interval)
As a small Russian provincial town awaits the arrival of a top civil servant despatched to inspect the workings of its apparatus of state, Khlestakov, an unscrupulous and naive young wastrel, pretends to be the inspector so he can profit from this “minor” misunderstanding. Seeking to gain his favour, the local officials indulge in flattery, fall over themselves to fulfil his every need, and fall victim to the biggest scam of them all.
Nikolai Gogol, the “cheerful melancholic”, as Pushkin called him, wrote “The Government Inspector” at the age of twentyfive. A youthful play, it vigorously satirizes an immoral society steeped in corruption and injustice.
“The Government Inspector” begins as a comedy of errors, but quickly develops into a furious political satire that transcends the boundaries of the time and place in which it was written.
Social—and hence political—comedy is one of the hardest theatrical genres to get right. Gogol, however, is a master, using laughter as a missile to blow sky high the ruins of a hypocritical, decadent society and flawed and immoral authority, while relentlessly satirizing the rotten member of both.
Like Aristophanes, Molière and Shakespeare before him, and Ionesco, Beckett, Dario Fo and all the others who came after and dared to reveal the tragic aspect of the human adventure through satire, Gogol shines a light into the bottomless pit of human stupidity, records unfiltered the corruption of institutions, the vanity of the powerful, the incompetence of those who wield authority, the shameful exploitation of the poor, and the servile fearful way people behave before that authority seriously and without didacticism, fully intent on making people laugh.
Because laughter kills fear and reveals the truth.
We thank you, Nikolai Gogol, holy fool, for your courage.
Translated by: Errikos Belies, Direction - Dramaturgical processing: Giannis Kakleas, Sets: Ilenia Douladiri, Giannis Kakleas, Costumes: Ilenia Douladiri, Music: Dimitris Papadimitriou, Movement: Stefania Sotiropoulou, Lighting: Stella Kaltsou, Assistant to the director: Rea Samaropoulou, Assistants to the set - costume designer: Christina Thalassa, Danai Pana, Production coordinator: Athanasia Androni, Make up artist: Manto Kamara
Mary Andreou (Prostitute / Waitress / Guest), Nefeli Anthopoulou (Prostitute / Piano teacher / Blacksmith’s wife / Guest), Hara Giota (Dancer / Guest), Dimitrios Danampasis (Mishka, Governor’s servant), Maria Eleftheriadi (Marya Antonovna, Prefect’s daughter), Alexandros Zafeiriadis (Christian Hubner, German doctor), Alexandros Zouridakis (Piotr Ivanovich Dobchinsky, Gentleman of private means), Stelios Kalaitzis (Ivan Kuzmich Shpyokin, Postmaster), Kostis Kapellidis (Drinker / Waiter at the Inn / Guest), Angelos Karanikolas (Drinker / Waiter at the Inn / Police Officer / Guest), Dimitris Kartokis (Ammos Fyodorovich Lyapkin, Judge), Giorgos Kafkas (Anton Antonovich, Governor of a small town in Russia), Fay Kokkinopoulou (Anna Andreyevna, Governor’s wife), Nikolas Maragkopoulos (Artemi Philippovich Zemlyanika, Charity Commissioner), Christos Mastrogiannidis (Drinker / Innkeeper / Police Officer / Guest), Dimitris Morfakidis (Luka Lukich Khlopov, Director of Schools), Panagiotis Papaioannou (Pyotr Ivanovich Bobchinski, Gentleman of private means), Stefanos Pittas (Drinker / Waiter at the Inn / Police Officer / Guest), Michalis Sionas (Poet / Police Officer / Guest), Giannis Syrios (Ivan Alexandrovich Khlestakov, “The Government Inspector”, Lowest-ranking civil servant in Petersburg), Theofano Tzalavra (Singer / Guest), Christos Tsavos (Osip, Khlestakov’s friend), Giannis Tsiakmakis (Svistunov, Chief of Police), Maria Chatziioannidou (Prostitute / Khlopov’s wife / Old merchant)