Caltech Playreaders 66th Season: "The Inspector General" by Nikolai Gogol
Directed by Mark Kozlowski
Translated from the Russian original by Thomas Seltzer
The lives of the officials and landlords of a small Russian town couldn't be better: enough money to live comfortably, enough weight to throw around, and lax enough government oversight to be able to avoid having to do real work. There's only one small problem: an Inspector General is coming, dressed incognito and with secret instructions! There is no telling what will happen if he writes an honest report about conditions in the town. Fortunately for the Governor and his cronies, they are sure they have seen right through the Inspector General's disguise. Or so they think.
This classic Russian farce explores veniality, corruption, bureaucracy, mistaken identity and celebrity, and is purportedly based on a real-life incident where Gogol's friend and literary titan Alexander Pushkin was similarly mistaken for an inspector. When published in 1836, The
Inspector General caused such an outcry in Russia that it required the personal intervention of Tsar Nicolas I to have it staged: the Tsar himself led the applause on opening night, saying "everybody gets it, and I most of all."The Inspector General is considered one of the funniest plays ever written in Russian, and is still commonly performed around the world as its scenario, themes, and characters transcend language, time, and place.
Admission is $3.00 for members of the Caltech Women's Club; $4.00 for all others. Light refreshments will be served after the reading.
To dine at the Athenaeum beforehand, call (626) 395-8204 for reservations. Plan to be seated by 5:30. You are welcome to join the Playreaders table.