HK English Speaking Union
- Tue 20-03-2018 7:15 PM - 2 h
The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol
Tuesday 20 March 2018 at 7.15 in Colette’s (please note change of day from Mondays on account of early closing on Mondays)
This month's play reading is The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol (1809 to 1852), a Russian dramatist of Ukrainian origin. Gogol was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the pre-eminent figures of the natural School of Russian literary realism. Critics have found in his work a fundamentally romantic sensibility with elements of surrealism and the grotesque. His later writings satirised political corruption in the Russian Empire, especially the Government Inspector, written in1836. Gogol's work has had a very large impact on Russia's literary and non-literary culture, where his stories have been adapted numerous times into opera, film or music. Gogol is mentioned several times in Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment, as well as Chekhov's The Seagull, while more than 135 films have been based on his work.
The Government Inspector is a comedy of errors, satirising human greed, stupidity and the extensive political corruption of imperial Russia. It is regularly performed on the modern stage and as an example of the realist style. The play is written very much in a spoken manner and therefore goes along at great speed. In essence, the plot concerns the corrupt officials of a small Russian town, headed by the mayor, who reacts with terror to the news that an incognito inspector will soon arrive in the town to investigate them. The flurry of activity to cover up their considerable misdeeds, is interrupted by the report that a suspicious person, Khlestakov, has arrived from St Petersburg and is staying at the inn.
Having learnt that Khlestakov has been charging his considerable hotel bill to the Government, the mayor and his crooked cronies are immediately certain that this is the dreaded inspector. Meanwhile Khlestakov enjoys the officials’ terrified deference, and moves in as a guest in the mayor's house. He demands and receives massive ‘loans’ from the mayor and all of his associates, and also flirts outrageously with the mayor's wife and daughter. Sick and tired of the mayor's incessant demands for bribes, the village merchants arrive, begging Khlestakov to have him dismissed from his post. The play takes an ironic twist in the final act when an Imperial Official suddenly arrives with an important message...As you may deduce from this brief synopsis, this is an old play that has remained strikingly relevant to issues that we are only too familiar with today.
Do please join us for this excellent satirical comedy on the new date of Tuesday the 20th of March, at the Fringe Club
Play-reading facilitators: Julian Quail & Mike Ingham