With finals just around the corner, the prospect of going to see a student-run production could very possibly be the last thing on the average student’s mind. However, those who used the excuse of “having to study” or “better things to do” have truly been missing out. This years Fall 2012 production of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Government Inspector” by the Stern College Dramatics Society is truly a work of art.
Under the direction of Professor Reuven Russell, the actresses of this semester’s production have utilized their talents in an impressive way. “The Government Inspector” takes place in a small town in Russia in the early nineteenth century, which is full of bribery, sickness, and utter turmoil. The first scene begins with a town meeting led by the mayor, Antonovich (Hannah Dreyfus), where he discusses the woes of the town with the judge (Esti Schwartz), school principal (Sharona Kay), and two doctors (Sarah King, Malka Sigal). Hilarity and comedy ensue as the postmaster (Arielle Katz) informs the town officials of the arrival of a government inspector (Danielle Penn) sent from the Czar to inspect this dilapidating town.
The audience’s laughter echoed through Koch Auditorium throughout the SCDS’ production of Gogol’s satiric social commentary on greed in Imperial Russia. Everything from the town’s “not even related” twins (Kayla Miller, Helene Sonenberg) to the inspector’s sidekick, Osip (Tova Kay), evoked roars of laughter.
Aside from the various comedic lines in “The Government Inspector,” romance, or lack-thereof also ensues. After the intermission, a bizarre romance triangle develops between Antonovich’s daughter (Rivkah Pahmer), Antonovich’s wife (Leah Gottfried), and the inspector. The actresses beautifully balanced their comedic and dramatic sides throughout the entire show.
The hard work the SCDS students have invested in “The Government Inspector” has truly paid off. From hair, makeup, and costumes to concessions, every detail has been immaculately taken care of. The newest adjustment to the SCDS department has been the selling of the Schottenstein Cultural Center, previously located a few blocks from Stern’s main building. Due to the lack of performing space, Stern has funded its drama department to build a temporary stage in Koch auditorium of Stanton Hall, located at 245 Lexington Avenue. While this stage is fully equipped with high definition sound and professional lighting, it doesn’t give off the same effect as a proper theater does. However, while this performing condition could easily have hampered the production of the show, the actresses performed as naturals on the provisional stage and seemed utterly at ease. I do admit, it was sad to see such glaring talent on a small and unimpressive stage.
From comedy to romance, this play has it all. So if you are looking for a great way to relax before finals begin, “The Government Inspector” is highly recommended. As was advised in the SCDS sstud and ystud emails from Aliza Slepian, the operations manager of SCDS, simply “put a little drama in your life.”