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UR International Theatre Program’s 'The Government Inspector' is a Trumpian satire from the 19th century


The University of Rochester’s International Theatre Program attempts to find the humor in our national nightmare with a virtual performance of “The Government Inspector” this weekend. The 19th century play by Nikolai Gogol is a political satire so resonant with America’s current state of government incompetence, it feels downright prophetic.

With an absurdist and chaotic sensibility, Gogol tells the story of a woefully corrupt politician who, upon the arrival of the man he suspects has been hired by the government to investigate his wrongdoings and that of his administration, falls into a series of blunders that prove to be his undoing. Does this sound familiar?

From Friday through Saturday, the International Theatre Program’s first-ever virtual  production — adapted, directed, and edited by ITP’s Artistic Director Nigel Maister — will pick the low-hanging fruit of this still-timely classic. The online production features a cast of 47 actors, comprising both students and alumni performing not only here in Rochester but from all over the country and the world.

The UR International Theatre Program presents “The Government Inspector” on Friday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Free. The 8 p.m. performances can be streamed here, while the 2 p.m. performances are available here.

Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s music editor. He can be reached at