Goofing it up in grand style, the cast of The Government Inspector are hard at work piling on the funny! With great comic lines and absurd situations, it’s the play we all need now more than ever and it takes the stage Oct. 24 at the Center Theatre.
Wacky characters, quirky dialogue and extravagant physicality, The Government Inspector will have you giggling and guffawing. Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation takes the jokes of Gogol’s original Russian farce and dials it up to 11. Not familiar with Nikolai Gogol? Neither were we, but we’re sure glad to know him now….let us introduce you.
Like a Train Bound for LaughsMany of Nikolai Gogol’s characters in play work as one all towards the same goal. He didn’t create multiple comic story lines. Everyone’s focused on the same thing…how to get out of this sticky situation. The humor is found in the all the inventive ways the characters go about it.
Sunrise to SunsetWhat a difference a day makes! Everything that happens in The Government Inspector occurs during the course of one day. While it may follow the Aristotelian unities of drama, it also helps to pack in a whole lot of antics in a short amount of time.
Lover? Hero? Charlatan? Nah…There are no real romantic relationships in The Government Inspector. There are also no virtuous characters and no real villains. Gogol exposes the ludicrousness of the world by creating characters that follow their truth, but in an extreme way.
What’s in a Name? A Whole Lot!Gogol’s character’s names have deeper meanings. And it’s really funny if you speak the language. For example, the mayor of the town’s name is Anton Antonovich Skvoznik Dumakhanovsky’s. Translated to Ukrainian it means “a windbag fond of blowing his own trumpet.” Appropriate? Oh,yeah!
And In Second Place…The Government Inspector will be Seattle Shakespeare Company’s third production of an adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher, making him the company’s second most produced playwright after Shakespeare. Other Hatcher adaptations produced were The Turn of the Screw and A Servant of Two Masters.
Inspiration StrikesThe Government Inspector was one of the inspirations for beloved comedy Inspecting Carol created at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1991. It’s a play that continues to be a favorite for theatre companies across the country.
From the Department of What Goes Around Comes AroundR. Hamilton Wright plays Khlestakov in our production of The Government Inspector. The character was the inspiration for the character of Wayne in Inspecting Carol, a part originated by Wright at Seattle Rep over 25 years ago!
From the Department of What Goes Around Comes Around, Part 2In The Government Inspector two landowners look remarkably similar. The actors playing Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky, Arjun Pande and Kevin Kelly, are not strangers to playing twins. They played the Dromio twins in our 2015 production of The Comedy of Errors.
Carrying the Russian MantelNikolai Gogol had a tremendous influence on arts and culture in his country. His novel Dead Souls is considered a paramount of 19th Century Russian literature. The Government Inspector, one of only three plays he wrote, is considered the greatest comedy ever Russia has ever produced. And it took only two months to write it!
A Royal OpeningTsar Nicolas I, after reading a copy of The Government Inspector, liked it so much that he requested the first theatrical production…even though it lampooned much of what was wrong under his rule.
Just Between FriendsThe original idea for The Government Inspector came from Gogol’s friend Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian writer and poet. Legend has it he relayed a similar real life situation that encountered himself while visiting a remote town.
Harsh ReactionAfter getting a lot of criticism from government officials about how they were portrayed in the play, Gogol left Russia. His self-exile lasted 12 years until he eventually returned to Moscow. He died at age 42.
When today’s headlines about Russia involve potential political meddling, corruption, and cover-up, it’s nice to know that some things don’t change… and that you can laugh about them. The Government Inspector is a sly confrontation of scruples in the face of “power” that was originally written in 1836 by Nikolai Gogol. Seattle Shakespeare Company presents Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of The Government Inspector directed by Allison Narver October 24-November 19, 2017 at the Center Theatre at Seattle Center. Talking to the cast and staff at the first rehearsal for The Government Inspector, Artistic Director George Mount remarked that the play is “increasingly timely…but it’s also funny as heck. It’s a relief to take all of the political stuff that’s so really deadly serious out there in the news all day and transform it into the cathartic process of laughter.”
The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! The full cast of our Russian farce, The Government Inspector, has been assembled. And what a bunch clowns (and we mean that in the best way!) Director Allison Narver makes her Seattle Shakespeare Company directing debut with Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s hilarious tale of bureaucracy and buffoonery in a small Russian village. Tartuffe, plays Khlestakov, a petty clerk who is believed to be an inspector from the capitol. Rob Burgess (Othello) plays the corrupt Mayor Anton Antonovich. Sara Waisanen plays his vain and flirtatious wife Anna Andreyevna, and Shanna Allman (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) plays their sullen, obstinate daughter Marya Antonovna. Joining them as goofy members of the town are Susanna Burney, Brace Evans, Doug Fries, Jonelle Jordan, Kevin Kelly, Imogen Love, Arjun Pande, and Brandon J. Simmons. The Government Inspector will have set design by Julia Welch, costume design by Pete Rush, lighting design by Andrew D. Smith, with sound design by Evan Mosher and Robertson Witmer. Choreographer is Crystal Dawn Munkers. Ticket to The Government Inspector are now on sale by phone at (206) 733-8222 or online.
Intertwining themes of money, power, and love weave through the plays of our upcoming season recently announced by Artistic Director George Mount. Plans for the 2017-2018 season include Julius Caesar, The Government Inspector, Timon of Athens, The Merchant of Venice, and Shakespeare in Love. “It’s about a continuum of human experience,” said Mount. “Being informed about where we’ve been before to see how we got to now.” The previously announced selections for the free Wooden O summer 2017 park shows include Much Ado About Nothing and Pericles. In the spring of 2018 Seattle Shakespeare Company will tour Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet to schools and venues across the state. “These are essential classic stories for the times we are now living through,” said Artistic Director George Mount. “I believe that Shakespeare is contemporary theatre, and should be engaging with the people that are seeing it right now, otherwise, it’s just a museum piece. These plays matter now. They mattered then, and they will continue to matter.” The indoor season launches with Julius Caesar, Shakespeare’s gripping political thriller about the intoxicating effects of power. “I’m very interested in revisiting an idea that I first explored with a Wooden O Julius Caesar,” said Mount. “When some of the things we’re seeing in our culture feel like they are more about regression than progress, this will be a production where time moves backwards during the course of the play.” Mount will direct Julius Caesar at the Cornish Playhouse, September 13-October 1, 2017. “My relationship to Allison Narver goes back to the days when she was one of the driving forces behind Annex Theatre,” said Mount. “Seeing all of her great work in town, as well as a brilliant staging of the Marx Brother’s Animal Crackers at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I knew she was the perfect fit for this Russian farce. I can’t wait.” Narver makes her Seattle Shakespeare Company directing debut with Nikolai Gogol’s comedy The Government Inspector. The hilarious tale of bureaucracy and buffoonery in a small Russian village will perform at the Center Theatre, October 24-November 19, 2017. Right after the New Year, the company will present Timon of Athens, Shakespeare’s rarely-staged tragedy of a generous man undone by false friendships. John Kazanjian will also make his company debut, directing the production which runs at the Center Theatre, January 9-February 4, 2018. “John’s been doing some fantastic work on small, chamber versions of Shakespeare’s plays with Hamlet and The Tempest at New City Theater,” said Mount. “The guy is a treasure trove of creativity with an inventive and smart, East-Coast-meets-West-Coast kind of approach to theatre. It’s going to be fantastic.” “Desdemona’s Measure for Measure for us in 2015 was a nuanced, gorgeous piece of storytelling of a very difficult play,” said Mount. “And she’s now exploding all over the national scene. I’m thrilled to have her come back and tackle yet another really difficult play that deals with very touchy, sensitive subject matter through the Shakespeare lens. I couldn’t be more excited.” Chiang will direct The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s vibrant interconnected tales of friendship, love, family, and the price of doing business, which will be performed at the Center Theatre, March 20-April 15, 2018. Shakespeare in Love is a stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning film about young Will Shakespeare and the woman who inspired him. “It’s just so bubbly and fun,” said Mount who will direct Shakespeare in Love at the Cornish Playhouse, May 2-June 3, 2018. “This is a really entertaining love story and a great examination of what it means to be a theatre artist. It shows just how hard it is when you’re trying to make a dream a reality and the difficulties of aspiring to success in any endeavor. I’m really looking forward directing this play and jumping into that delightful world with some of our city’s great artists.” The largest audiences for Seattle Shakespeare Company are the more than 16,000 students who get to experience one of the company’s touring productions. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s touring program crisscrosses the state with two 90-minute, small-cast shows that bring Shakespeare to communities that don’t often see professional productions. During the spring of 2018 Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet directed by Erin Murray will tour to schools and venues from Pullman to Wenatchee to Port Angeles. Free Shakespeare in the park is now a summer tradition for much of the region. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Wooden O productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Pericles will perform in parks throughout the region from July 6 through August 6, 2016. The full schedule of dates and venues is available on the company’s website. Season ticket packages will go on sale April 1 and range from $100 to $210 for all five indoor productions. Season ticket packages can be purchased by calling the ticket office at (206) 733-8222 or online. Single tickets will go on sale in July 2017 and range from $28-$55 per ticket.