Mistaken identities and big laughs in fall play "The Government Inspector"

By Sam Cushing | November 14, 2017 8:04am

The cast rehearses for "The Government Inspector". The play opens on November 15th and runs through the 19th.
by Molly Lowney / The Beacon

What happens when small town corruption meets harsh Russian bureaucracy? When rumors rage and a case of mistaken identity tears a town apart? A story of greed, comedy and incivility premieres this Wednesday, with the Performing and Fine Arts Department’s next fall performance: “The Government Inspector,” written by Nikolai Gogol. “The Government Inspector” takes place in a 19th century Russian village where corruption runs rampant. After the town hears that the Tsar is sending an auditor to inspect their wrongdoing, they panic and mistake a traveler at the local inn for the inspector.

The first show starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Mago Hunt Theater, and features costumes and set pieces designed and made by UP students. The show is a “farce,” a comic play where the behavior of the characters is exaggerated, according to the director and professor of performing and fine arts Andrew Golla.

“The motivations are usually things like greed and power,” Golla said. “Human beings at their most ridiculous is what farce is.”

Golla said farce plays require a specific kind of acting ability, because of the difficulty of the eccentric acting.

“Because it’s farcical, because the characters are so outlandish and the behaviors so outlandish, there’s a lot of precision that’s involved in comedy,” Golla said. “So it’s just having enough time to work toward that precision. And finding how to make the behaviors as exaggerated as we can without it just tipping into silly.” 

Despite the difficult acting style, Angela VanEpps, a MFA student in directing who works with Golla, said the cast of 19 actors has taken great strides from when they began rehearsals just before fall break. 

“The show’s gotten funnier and funnier throughout the development,” VanEpp said. “It’s good for if you’re looking for something to laugh at.”

The show runs Nov. 15-18 at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Nov. 19. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, and are available through the Mago Hunt Box Office.

“Don’t come expecting a drama,” Stage Manager Marcy Melville, a senior theater major, said. “(This play is) not a place to look for a moral.”