By: Haley Fisher
NHS Drama performed the showcase “The Government Inspector” on September 29th and 30th as a sneak peek for the one-act competition.
Despite the short time the cast had to rehearse and create the set, the show appeared to have been practiced for months. The set was beautiful and fitting, and the actors were confident and well composed.
The play opens up with the Mayor (Taurean Reeves) sitting in his quiet office that is soon to be filled with his fellow town leaders. The Judge (Geoff Burch), School Principal (Katie Ward), Hospital Director (Will Harris) and the Doctor (Ray Robinson) rush into the room once they hear that a Government Inspector is coming to town.
Their town is the epitome of corruption.
The hospital rooms are tiny, teachers in the school make kindergartners looks like Harvard graduates, and decision in the courtroom can be bought for cheaper than a sale at the dollar store. The Mayor thinks only of himself and the thickness of his wallet.
Little do they know, the inspector is already in town and has been staying at a local inn for about a week. Bobchinsky (Michael Broadwater) and Dobchinsky (Terry Broadwater) show up in the office and deliver the news nonchalantly.
Panic rises among the town leaders. The letter given to Mayor stated the inspector was not supposed to come for another week. Of course, the post office is backed up with the Postmaster (Katie Beth Williams) opening, reading and collecting most of the mail.
The news that a man with the power to shut down the entire town is staying in one of the worst places in town, commences a race to get there.
In the dingy inn itself, Ivan, the man thought to be the government inspector stands in a grubby room. The “inspector,” Ivan (Kevin Carden) is having his weekly talk of suicide just to get out of debt. His servant boy, Osip (Patrick Matistic), walks in and gives him a speech on how his life has meaning.
The Mayor himself comes and saves the day. He is under the false impression that the man before him is the government inspector, rich, powerful, and traveling with his servant boy. On the other hand, Ivan thinks the man before him is here to arrest him.
The fourth wall is broken many times in this scene. Both Ivan and Mayor talk to the audience while the rest of the play is paused. Ivan is highly confused and suspicious of the Mayor, while the Mayor believes that Ivan is playing hard to please. Money is swapped and an identity is made.
While the Mayor takes Ivan around to see the town, preparation for the inspectors stay is happening on the home front. The Mayor’s Wife, Anna (Sarah Culbreth), anxiously awaits the man she considers to be more interesting than anything in this town.
The sulky teen daughter, Marya (Jennifer Jarvis), sulks around and acts unimpressed by the whole situation.
Of course once Mayor and Ivan enter the house, the mood changes. Anna is infatuated with Ivan while Marya seems aloof to the charade in front of her. Ivan tries not to lose his cool around the mysterious girl and mother, and the women slyly fight for the inspector’s attention.
During the battle of love and attention, the town leaders work on what they know best- bribes. Instead of directly giving Ivan the money, they give thanks and toast to the Tsar, the late Tsar, and whoever else seems to need to be toast. Each toast is a new drink of Russia’s most popular drink.
Rather than taking the bribes, Ivan takes more drinks. Ivan over and over again almost slips up and reveals his lie but covers up with more and more lies until Ivan passes out drunk, leaving the party in question.
The following morning, Osip takes advantage of the hospitality that is offered to him and his master. He tells them Ivan treats his servants as well as he would anyone else. This results in Osip having heavy pockets and Mayor having a light wallet.
Once Ivan is finally awake, the repercussions of the previous night’s events flows back to him, one of those things being his claim to be a writer. Marya, being a lover of literature, demands Ivan write a poem for her, out loud, with a rhyme scheme and rhyming with her name.
Ivan succeeds, and is tackled by the teenage girl who is now in love with him. Marya, full of a new passion, demands they run away together and fall in love. Of course once Anna gets Ivan alone, she attempts the same thing. She seduces him and somehow convinces him to runaway together.
The town leaders are throwing Ivan money, and attractive women are throwing themselves at him. He writes a quick letter home and tries to leave.
There is a moment of ease amount the town leaders. The town is safe and the inspector is thought to be gone.
The peace is broken once the servant girl, Grusha (Laura Huff) comes in. Osip told her everything she needed to know about Ivan being in debt and not actually being an inspector.
Panic once again rises in the group. First of all, they have just lost hundreds and hundreds of dollars to this man. Secondly, who is the inspector?
The suspense is shortly lived when Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky announce the real inspector is here and has been for three months. But who could have been inspecting them for the last three months?
Major plot twist. The Doctor bursts out from the group and rips off his lab coat to show his badge.
The entire show had the audience in a fit of laughter. Comedic wit and sass go a long way in “The Government Inspector.”
Roles of all ages were played maturely and professionally. We wish the champion group luck at the one act competition as they bring home another trophy.