The East Central University Theatre Department will present Nikolai Gogol’s “The Government Inspector” with three performances, Oct. 11-13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Chalmers Herman Theatre of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.
This is an adaptation of Gogol’s play, also known in other translations as “The Inspector General” by Peter Raby from a translation by Leonid Ignatieff. Although originally published in 1836, the period, costumes and accents have been revised for the Oct. 11-13 audiences.
The comedy, directed by ECU professor Dr. Richard Groetzinger and assisted by graduate student Margie Beck of Ada, centers around the officials in a small provincial hamlet in Russia. The mayor and his “cabinet” get news that a government inspector is coming to their town “incognito” to investigate them. They soon find out that a mysterious stranger from the capital has been staying in the local hotel for two weeks. They jump to the conclusion that he is the inspector and prepare to assuage him, assuming he is like them and open to bribery.
The audience soon discovers that he is a simple government clerk with no power and no money, stuck because he cannot pay his hotel bill. Although unaware of the mistake, he takes advantage of the officials and other townspeople and merchants clamoring for his attention.
In preparation, ECU professor Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya has served as an advisor on Russian culture, pronunciation and the play itself.
The adapter of the play, in his notes, cited Gogol himself, who stated in translation, “Everyone becomes a Khlestakov for a moment, but quite naturally does not wish to acknowledge it; indeed, he even likes to have a good laugh at it, but only, when he notices it in someone else, not himself.”
Jace Westmoland, of Ada, will play the role of “Inspector” Ivan Alexandrovich Khestakov and Juan Oseguera, also of Ada, will fill the role of Mayor Anton Antonovich Skvoznik-Dmukhanovsky. Tyler Whitney, of Oklahoma City, plays Osip, Khlestakov’s servant while Shelby Davis and Amanda Daniel, both of Ada, play the mayor’s wife and daughter.
The Ada connection continues with Annabelle Elliott, Ben Muse and Trystan Marshall playing the Director of Charities, Director of Education and Postmaster, respectively. Andrew O’Neal, of Ardmore, fills out the officials as Judge Lyapkin-Tyapkin. Tulsa’s Zack Smith and Shawnee’s Taylor Packwood portray local landowners Peter Ivanovich Dobchinsky and Peter Ivanovich Bobchinsky.
Preston Fishburn, Sam Baker and Ashley Houchin, all of Ada, portray local merchants. Filling out the cast are Malik Sharp, of Shawnee; Isabella Roan, Garland, Texas; Logan Bennett, Madill; Bailey Posey, Konawa; Allie Bush, Sapulpa; Summer Pearce, Glenpool; Alex Humbles, Bethany; Mar Miller, Ada and Deborah Johnson, Nassau, Bahamas.
Posey is designing the lights for the play and for his senior project in communication and performance studies. Graduate student Miranda Carrizales, of Bristow, is designing the costumes.
Ticket prices start at $10 for adults, $9 for alumni or senior citizens, $8 for alumni who are senior citizens, $7 for students of other colleges, high school or junior high and $5 for children 12 and under. Admission is free for all ECU students, faculty and staff with ECU identification.
Seating is limited in the Chalmers Herman Theatre to approximately 100 per performance, so those wanting to attend should get their tickets in adavance. Thursday night’s performance will be followed by a panel discussing the play, playwright and Russian culture of the period.
To purchase tickets or get more information go online to www.ecok.edu/FineArts The ECU Box Office can be contacted by calling 580-559-5751 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.