By April Wilson, Contributor
UNO theatre’s latest production of “The Government Inspector” promises to be a good time. The play is adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from Nikolai Gogol’s original Russian piece. Professor Doug Paterson will direct.
However, this isn’t your ordinary boring Russian-set curtain-raiser. It is a highly entertaining and comical farce.
“You’re not walking away from this with some sort of deep moral tale,” said senior Ben Beck, who plays the character of Percy Everett Harrison. “It is watching extremely unintelligent, corrupt people and what happens when you put them in a room together.”
The production will show the department’s unique take on the traditional comedic farce. The plot revolves around the panic caused by a surprise government inspector visiting Omaha during 1861. What unfolds is a larger than life hysterical commentary on the depths of corruption and greed.
Paterson, who is directing this show for the third time in 44 years, said even though the time period is 1861, the characters and the corruption of the town is based on early 20th century real-life Omaha political boss Tom Dennison and “Cowboy” Jim Dahlman, the mayor he got elected eight times. “Dennison ran [Omaha] from the back of the Budweiser bar in South Omaha… [The other criminals of the time] didn’t hold a candle to him,” said Paterson, including the mob bosses of Chicago and Kansas City.
“We have a wonderful cast,” said Paterson. The cast of 22 has two faculty actors and 20 students participating. The lead role of the mayor will be played by department chair D. Scott Glasser. All of the actors developed their own character’s names, said Paterson. There are great names that are both period and great fun, he said, such as the locksmith’s wife, “Keelover.”
All of the costumes and sets were designed and constructed by the students and faculty in the department. There are three interior sets and the transitions between the scenes will be done by the cast. The set itself is a subtle part of the plot with the “subtle images and metaphors” created by the design and layout.
“I want people to have a good time…to laugh…smile,” Paterson said about the goals of the play. “It will be laugh out loud funny. If along the way people would reflect on Omaha as a little town built on corruption, maybe they’ll do some investigations of their own.”
Previews for the play are Sept. 28 and 29. The show runs Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and Oct. 12 through the 15. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for all UNO students with their MAVcard and can be purchased by the public. The previews are $5. Once the show opens, tickets for adults will be $15. Seniors, military, and TAG members are $10, and all non-UNO students are $5 with student ID. The box office will open 45 minutes before each show, but purchasing tickets in advanced is suggested. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the theatre box office in Weber Fine Arts Building or by calling (402) 554-PLAY.