A tale of lust, greed and cor­rup­tion

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

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.

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