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George Mason High School The Inspector General

By • Nov 19th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

Aleeya Ensign, Yael Urbach, Tom Shapiro, Anne Pasupulati, Laura Peppe In a flood of physical comedy and pastel colors, George Mason High School met Russian slapstick with enthusiasm. In their recent student directed production of Gogol’s The Inspector General, students energetically attacked a challenging play.

A small provincial Russian town is in uproar at the news of the impending incognito visit of the Inspector General. When they receive the misinformation that he is staying at the hotel, the town officials arrive and treat him, a spendthrift philanderer expecting at any moment to be sent to jail, with great respect. Mistaken identity turns to fraud when the subject of the town’s attentions discovers their misunderstanding.

Published in 1836, The Inspector General satirizes the corruption and the greed in Tsarist Russia, turning the corruption of the town officials against them and making them look like fools when the real Inspector General shows up.

George Mason High School’s production approached the play as a farce, taking physical comedy to an extreme. Actors leaped through windows, ran circles around the stage, were kicked across beds, knocked into cupboards, and thrown onto the floor. The fast pace and energy were potent and entertaining.

The acting was overall very animated. There was wonderful chemistry between Anna, played by KK Bracken, and her daughter, Marya, played by Anna Lathrop. The fake Inspector General, Ivan Alexandrovich Hlestakov, played by Nathan Ward, was generally very high energy and a fantastic liar, an asset in his case. These three actors combined with a flourish each time Marya and Anna fought over Ivan. Each character’s distinct physicality and energy made the scene very dynamic and entertaining.

Luka Lukitch, the school superintendent played by Jack Brorsen, was engaging, always in the moment and always doing something interesting. His nervous shaking and fainting were appealing additions to the scene.

Many of the smaller characters lacked the energy and luster of the larger ones, but the stage would always come back to life when one of the main characters reentered.

The student directors, KK Bracken, Nathan Ward and Joseph Kendra, all also leads, achieved a smoothly running play. The technical aspects were good, and the overall production was entertaining and creative, though the acting was not always up to par. The properties, by Martha-Grace Burkey, were aesthetically pleasing and very appropriate to the play, in particular the crystal vodka decanters. The set by Nils Westergard, complete with bright pastel colors and different levels, was well-constructed and beautiful when in the Mayor’s living room, and the color scheme was just as bright and energetic as the play required. The stage crew, consisting of Will Walton, Ben Peterson, Zach Emmons and Simon Farrow, was well-organized, though at times lacking in subtlety. The lights, by Will Walton, and sound design, by Ben Peterson, were both generally appropriate.

George Mason High School rose to the challenge of The Inspector General with energy and flourish, achieving a commendable result.

by Katherine Goldberg of Washington International

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