The Government Inspector premieres in Dramat’s first fall showing
The satirical comedy tells the story of corrupted officials and was originally written by Ukrainian-born novelist Nikolai Gogol.
Gavin Guerrette, Photography Editor
The Dramat opened its fall season during Family Weekend with “The Government Inspector,” a satirical comedy originally written in Russian.
Written by dramatist and novelist Nikolai Gogol and originally published in 1836, the play ran at the David Geffen School of Drama’s Iseman Theater from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8. “The Government Inspector” tells a story of corruption, bribes and human greed. Its plot centers on a traveler from St. Petersburg, Ivan Khlestakov, who is mistaken as a government inspector by town officials.
“It’s a play about deception, and what it feels like to be duped and the shame of emerging from deception.” said the director of the show, Leo Egger ’24. “My work has always been interested in the experience of going into a play and losing yourself in it.”
The Yale Dramatic Association is the second-oldest college theater association in the country and the largest undergraduate theater organization at Yale. Students organize two shows every semester. According to Egger, over 70 people auditioned for a cast of 16 parts.
This was Egger’s first time directing a non-classical piece. Describing his goals for the show, Egger said he wanted to be “as authentic as possible to the text Gogol’s writing about” while also combining “[his] own artistic vision.”
Miriam Huerta ’23, the sound designer and engineer of the show, said her biggest challenge was including “authentic Russian music.”
“We actually did a really cool collaboration with the Yale Russian Chorus,” Huerta said. “They just had their anniversary concert earlier in September, and we were able to record it and use some of the songs that they performed in our show.”
Working from early August until the start of the show in October, the production team and actors committed to rehearsing on a tight schedule.
Simon Rabinowitz ’23, who played the Mayor in the show, described the time commitment to the play as between two to ten hours a day.
“[Egger’s] got such a great vision,” Rabinowitz said. “He’s able to execute that in such an efficient way, while at the same time being really detail-oriented.”
The team also consisted of people with varying experience levels. Rabinowitz, who had only ever performed improv comedy before, said this was his first experience acting in a show on this scale.
For Nico Taylor ’23, who played Khlestakov, the show marked a transition from acting in sketch comedy to a role in a longer production.
“The main difference is just that with a sketch, you have at most five minutes that you have to sustain laughs, and so you can pack a lot more,” said Taylor. “You can get away quickly with it, like a shooting star, … but this is kind of like a whole day, like the sun going over it and everything. … This show has to come less from gags than from a character. You actually have to think about other things like characterization and making a believable world.”
The show was performed over Family Weekend. Sarah Brockus, who came to see her daughter Anya van Hoogstraten ’23 as the Mayor’s Daughter, was excited for the show.
“They did a terrific job of highlighting the organization of the farce and keeping weaving around all the characters,” said Brockus.
The Dramat’s next show, the musical RENT, will be held Nov. 9-12 at the University Theatre.