A tale of lust, greed and corruption
A play, described as ‘‘an actor’s dream,’’ is Feilding Little Theatre Players’ first production of their 2017 season. Nikolai Gogol’s play The Government
Inspector, translated and adapted by Roger Pulvers in 2007, will receive its New Zealand premiere in Feilding next month.
Directed by Dan Mateer, the black comedy describes the arrival in town of a man who’s mistakenly identified as a government official. He takes advantage of the deception and the story develops from there with huge consequences for all concerned.
Russian playwright Gogol originally wrote the late 19th century play for 20 plus characters but, in Pulvers’ creative hands, it’s been reduced to two people. Phil White and Peter Doherty, as Actor A and Actor B, play 16 different and demanding roles.
Dan says the secret of Pulvers’ adaptation lies in its ability to convey the variety of characters played to the audience.
‘‘The challenge is in the performance and convincing the audience that they’re so many uniquely different characters,’’ he says.
Dan first saw The Government Inspector in Melbourne 10 years ago and has wanted to direct it ever since. However, laying his hands on a script proved difficult until the playwright sent him a copy earlier this year.
‘‘I was delighted, have established a rapport with him and shared ideas about how the play should be presented,’’ Dan says.
While it was originally set in Russia, Dan’s setting is timeless in place and decade although the Russian names and locations have been retained.
‘‘What’s important is that this is a tale of lust, greed and corruption and there are examples of those deadly sins here in New Zealand to remind us,’’ he says. Dan describes The Government
Inspector as a black comedy. ‘‘It’s humorous, very funny and carries an important message of corruption in high places. The audience will get a good laugh at the antics of local politicians and be impressed by the two experienced actors playing so many roles.’’
Dan, who has directed such well known Feilding productions as Month of Sundays,
Cook Tapes and Follow the Star, is pleased the play has come to Manawatu.
‘‘My enjoyment is to relive the pleasure of seeing it performed in Melbourne in 2007,’’ he says.
❚ The Government Inspector is presented by Feilding Little Theatre Players for nine performances from Friday June 9 until Saturday July 1. Book Eventfinda or ring 06 323 5051.
Peter Doherty as Mayor confronts Phil White as the bogus inspector.