AT: The Inspector; The Inspector General A: Nikolai Gogol Pf: 1836, St Petersburg Pb: 1836; rev. 1841, 1842 Tr: 1892 G: Com. in 5 acts; Russian prose S: Small Russian provincial town, 1830s C: 20m, 5f, extrasThe Police Chief of a small Russian provincial town censors all the local mail and so discovers that a Government Inspector is on his way to review the workings of the local government. Given the level of corruption in the town, its elders are thrown into panic by the impending inspection. When news comes that a well-dressed young man is staying at the local inn where he is refusing to pay his bills, everyone assumes that the Inspector has arrived incognito. The Police Chief immediately invites the bemused Khlestakov to his own home, and even attempts to manipulate him into a liaison with his daughter. Khlestakov imagines that this treatment is due to his superior manners from St Petersburg. He happily accepts the many bribes brought to him by the townsfolk. His faithful servant Osip realizes that Khlestakov ought to quit while he still can. Narrowly missing an affair with both the Police Chief's wife and daughter, Khlestakov travels off, laden with gifts. A letter from Khlestakov to a friend is intercepted, and his identity finally revealed to the dismay of all. At that moment the arrival of the real Government Inspector is announced.
AT: The Inspector; The Inspector General A: Nikolai Gogol Pf: 1836, St Petersburg Pb: 1836; rev. 1841, 1842 Tr: 1892 G: Com. in 5 acts; Russian prose S: Small Russian provincial town, 1830s C: 20m, 5f, extras
This is the most frequently performed Russian play. Although set unmistakably in provincial Russia in the early 19th century, the comedy deriving from the mistaken identity of Khlestakov and from the depiction of small-town corruption has resonance wherever local officials fill themselves with self-importance. It is a theme, for example, explored by John Arden in The Workhouse Donkey.