Exploring the greatest new and classic plays

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081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

Vladimir Nabokov described The Government Inspector as the “greatest play in the Russian language”. Gogol’s comedy of mistaken identity is an unexpected mix of fantastical farce and serious social satire. The audience and critics were duly confused by its unusual form when it premiered in St Petersburg in 1836 with the Tsar himself in attendance. Some were outraged at its unpatriotic attack on Russia and its governance, while others dismissed it as nothing more than a cheerful comedy. Gogol himself was dismayed by its reception, pronouncing rather sententiously as he took his leave of Russia for the next twelve years, “a prophet has no honour in his own country.”

The play has survived as a paradigm of political corruption in any age or place, as well as for its exuberant comic form which allows for malleable theatrical interpretation. As we record this episode, a new rendition arrives on the London stage in Patrick Myles’s knock-about adaptation, which is set in a region of England at an indeterminate date, but which has many resonances to the political landscape of our time.

I’m delighted to welcome Patrick to the podcast to help us learn more about this classic play and its enigmatic author.

Patrick Myles

Patrick Myles is an actor, writer, director and producer. His acting credits include work on stage, TV and film, and his writing and directing comprise a number of short films, including his adaptation of Nikolay Gogol’s famous short story, The Overcoat, with Jason Watkins and Tim Key heading a strong cast. The film was listed for a BAFTA award for Best British Short in 2019. 

Recommended Play

Patrick recommended Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière.

 

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082 – People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan

082 – People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan

Published 20th June

Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things is a blisteringly frank and funny portrait of addiction and invented identity. When the play premiered at the National Theatre in 2015, Denise Gough won awards for her electrifying performance, and as we record this episode she revives her role in London’s West End.

It is a fascinating and challenging play, and an exhilarating piece of theatre. I am delighted to talk with its author, Duncan Macmillan, and the production’s director, Jeremy Herrin.

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

Vladimir Nabokov described The Government Inspector as the “greatest play in the Russian language”. Gogol’s comedy of mistaken identity is an unexpected mix of fantastical farce and serious social satire. that has survived as a paradigm of political corruption and social hypocrisy in any age or place.

As we record this episode a new adaptation of the play written and directed by Patrick Myles arrives on the London stage, and I’m delighted to talk with Patrick about this classic play and its enigmatic author.

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill wrote his autobiographical magnum opus, Long Day’s Journey into Night, in 1941, but because of the personal revelations it contained he gave explicit instructions that it was not to be published until 25 years after his death and that it should never be staged. In the event his widow allowed both to occur in 1956, only three years after his death, when the play won O’Neill his fourth Pulitzer prize.

As we record this episode, a powerful new production of the play is playing in London, with Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson heading the cast. I am delighted and privileged to talk with the production’s director, Jeremy Herrin, about O’Neill’s monumental play.

Photo by Johan Persson.

Patrick Myles

Patrick Myles

Patrick Myles

Patrick Myles is an actor, writer, director and producer. His acting credits include work on stage, TV and film, and his writing and directing comprise a number of short films, including his adaptation of Nikolay Gogol’s famous short story, The Overcoat, with Jason Watkins and Tim Key heading a strong cast. The film was listed for a BAFTA award for Best British Short in 2019.

Recommended Play(s)

Patrick recommended Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière.