The classic play, The Government Inspector written in 1836 by famous Russian writer Nikolai Gogol has a new avatar. The contemporary adaptation is produced by the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), in collaboration with Akvarious Productions. The story is an energetic comedy of manners and errors, where a bunch of corrupt small town officials go into a panic when an Inspector comes by for rounds.
The cast of The Government Inspector
“The twist here is that the audience sees a play within a play. They see a bunch of actors performing this play, who spend their time backstage lying, backstabbing and cheating . So, art imitates life and life imitates art,” reveals Akarsh Khurana, the
The story is full of satire, with crazy twists and turns. It exposes the absurdity, spiritual bankruptcy and corruption of an average small town and about the theatre process. “There’s always the struggle to retain the essence of the original while bringing enough of your own take to it. It is dangerous to mess with classics. They are classics because they work. So, adaptations have to add value and not take away. That is always a challenge,” he explains.
The director not only experiments with the storyline of the play but also the look and feel of it. “For the entire look, I wanted to go ‘desi cool’. So, we partnered with a brand called Chumbak to help with designs and props. I also wanted it to be colourful, so I took conventional uniforms and gave them unconventional colours. So, there is a Police Commissioner in bright yellow, a magistrate in fluorescent green and babus in baby pink safari suits. It leans towards the absurd,” shares Khurana.
As for the play’s music, it is a mix of Bollywood tunes and modern Jazz versions of classic Western tunes, in keeping with the theme of the play. Adhir Bhat, Hussain Dalal, Adhaar Khurana, Dilshad Edibam Khurana, Siddharth Kumar and Amey Wagh play some of leads in the play.
“I knew casting was going to be a tough process. I knew high levels of energy were needed, as well as razor sharp comic timing. So, I assembled a motley crew of actors that I had worked with in the past, keeping in mind their evident camaraderie. So it’s a good mix of old Akvarious favourites and recent discoveries/additions, and they’re all funny people, which is a key factor,” says Khurana.
“Gogol’s The Government Inspector is a classic that transcends time and cultures, and, it reflects with accuracy and acerbic wit, the state of the country today. I’m sure that the concept of enacting a play within a play will entice and entertain the audience thoroughly,” says Deepa Gahlot, Head — Programming (Theatre & Film), NCPA.
On: February 6 and 7, 7 pm (both days)
At: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.