Put simply, it’s a story about government corruption and the karma that comes with it.
The staged satire of parasitic politics now on stage at the Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s Landsburgh Theatre — The Government Inspector — is a laugh out loud comedy of errors speaking to greed, stupidity, vanity and the tragedy of assumption.
When the Mayor of a small Russian town, Anton Antonovich (Rick Foucheux) hears rumors of the coming of an incognito Government Inspector from the Capital, he and other miscreant “higher ups” assume the suspicious Ivan Alexandreyevich Hlestakov (Derek Smith), recently arrived from St. Petersburg and staying in the local hotel, must be their man. They hatch a plan to cover up misdeeds, misspendings and other mistakes.
Now Hlestakov is actually a crooked cheat with a lowly clerk’s post in the capital, but he accepts their hospitality… and their “loans” of bribery as he slowly figures out that they’ve taken him for someone else, and he can take advantage!
It’s a play that Gogol (the playwright) himself describes as an attempt to “pile up all the vile things in Russia and to laugh at them,” (which may explain why Stalin shut down theatres in the late 1930s while it was being performed).
Especially in this town of pandering and politics, The Government Inspector is some educational entertainment in brutal bamboozlement that DC audiences will appreciate.
*Run time: 2 hours. On stage through October 28th