ASTORIA – The Government Inspector, presented by Eclipses Group Theater of New York at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center November 8-December 1, is a delightful comedy based on Nikolai Gogol’s play, directed and adapted by Demetri Bonaros. Set in 1989 Greece, the play celebrates theater and entertains while offering social commentary as the best comedies always do, reminding us of the constancy of human nature while holding up a mirror to society.
As Bonaros told The National Herald, setting the play in 1989 allows the social commentary to be both historical and contemporary. He noted that he prefers not to be too explicit in commenting on current events or a specific event, but set in 1989, there’s a bit of distance and yet the themes apply to any time period.
Bonaros also pointed out that he and his colleagues in the Eclipses Group Theater are always looking for plays that can showcase the talents of the cast, crew, and the entire production team in creative set design, costume design, hair and makeup, and stage business.
The larger than life characters in the play definitely highlight the comic talents of the cast, who impressed the audience with their precise timing and physical comedy skills. From the opening scene on, the comedy builds, as the actors break the fourth wall, play multiple characters, and keep the audience laughing throughout.
The gifted cast includes Bonaros as the ‘incognito’ Government Inspector, Deodoros Pagoudis as the Mayor, Theodoros Petropoulos as the Judge, Alkis Sarantinos as the Doctor, Konstantina Xintara as the School Principal/Waiter, Alexandra Skendrou as Stathis I and the Mayor’s Wife, and Chrysi Sylaidi as Stathis II and the Mayor’s Daughter.
One of the world’s best-known and loved plays, The Government Inspector is a hilarious and merciless satire that exposes greed, corruption, and stupidity. It has been translated into numerous languages, adapted and frequently revived in the world’s largest theaters. The play has also inspired several films, television series, and operas. Perhaps best known is the 1949 musical film The Inspector General starring Danny Kaye which offered a Hollywood treatment of Gogol’s original, scathing source material.
Set during a time when bigwigs of Greek politics and business are being dragged through the courts to answer for years of scandals while one sleepy small town in the countryside continues to carry out petty scams without a care in the world, Bonaros’ adaptation is charming, timely, and timeless. The news of the impending arrival of a government inspector sends the town into a panic. What is in store for the play’s characters? Will the inspector expose their misdeeds? Will they pull the wool over his eyes, buy his silence, or otherwise escape his clutches unscathed?
A scene from The Government Inspector. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
The play’s themes are universal but the attention to detail, the 1980s references in the text, the music selections, the over the top costumes and hair, create a delightful world of comedy not to be missed.
The Government Inspector, directed and adapted by Demetri Bonaros with set construction by Adam Chase, costume design by Ioanna Katsarou, stage manager/costume and set assistant: Vasiliki Ioannou, and executive producers: Ioanna Katsarou and Katerina Alexaki, runs through December 1 at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent Street in Astoria, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 4 PM.
Tickets are available by phone: 718-581-6285 and online: www.egtny.com.