Valery Fokin, who is rightly considered one of the best contemporary authorities on Nikolay Gogol’s works, turns to The Inspector General for the third time. This Alexandrinsky Theatre project, however, is special. This is the stage where Gogol’s comedy first premiered on April 19, 1836, with Nikolay Gogol himself taking an active part in the staging of his play.
This is also the tenth version of The Inspector General on the Alexandrinsky Theatre Stage. Therefore, three archetypes come into power. Firstly, the images of the historical premiere of long ago, secondly, the reminiscences of Vsevolod Meyerhold’s genius performance staged in Meyerhold State Theatre in 1926, and, of course, the reflections of the city of Saint Petersburg itself – not only the Gogol version, but the city of today, whose majestic beauty and sarcastic grimaces we are led to discover. The absurd born out of the ordinary – this is where those who think that vice shall rule the world unpunished will finally be trapped. In this respect, Nikolay Gogol’s genius comedy may be considered as a state-related play.
Premiered on October, 5 2002
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Based on a classic play, the performance boasts a great number of original ideas. There are virtually no predictable scenes in the show. Valery Fokin, who is normally into rigid schemes and motifs, chooses this time to offer us not as much a clear concept as a general law of stage existence: the actor must be prepared for his character to suddenly reveal a hidden personality, which will contort his features into a grotesque mask and make his body, so obedient just a moment ago, twist and swell from inside to the music of Leonid Desyatnikov.
Roman Dolzhansky The 18+ Inspector General
Kommersant, October 2002
Valery Fokin’s performance ‘does not want us to pretend it is incognito’, it is rich in theatrical memories – and naturally, many other things.
Having shown Meyerhold’s masterpiece the due ‘devotion and esteem, esteem and devotion’, it moves on to live its own life.
Liliya Schitenburg, LIFE OF A GAMBLER
Imperiya Dramy, April 2007
The Alexandrinsky Theatre’s tenth, and Fokin’s third, Inspector General has drawn the outline of a programmatic event – we find historical reminiscences within the frame of a completely modern event. The visual images of the 1836 premiere, a fragment of the Meyerhold State Theatre 1926 reconstruction of his original performance, Meyerhold and Korenev’s theatrical scheme – all these ‘traditions’ are given a completely new life.
The Modern Inspector General
Kultura, December 2002 - January 2003