Gogol’s Revizor (The Inspector General as translated in English here) is one of these few great plays in the universal theater repertoire that has the potential of becoming inflammatory and subversive material for any society in any time. The combination between human observation and social critic have made uncomfortable many censors at many moments in history and places on the globe despite the play being written and referring to Russia of the 1830s. My Romanian friends who lived the times of the Communism regime may remember the big scandal that followed the presentation of the play under the direction of Lucian Pintilie at the Bulandra Theater in the 1970s, and the fact that censorship took it out of stage soon after the first representations enjoyed a great success. ‘Revizor’ puts in the face of the audiences a mirror where the reflection of their morals, and social and human failures is not easy to digest.

source www.gesher-theatre.co.il

Evgheny Arye’s performance at the Gesher Theater in Jaffo is one of the best stage events I have seen lately (the premiere took place last year). I cannot deny the fact that the style of direction may be much closer to the type of theater that I got used to in my younger days in Romania – a combination of respect to the spirit of the text and innovation in form that goes back to the classical theater genres, to popular theater and circus and to complex artistic performances with music on stage. It goes so far from the commercial theater and Broadway inspired style that is popular in Israel, and I am quite concerned that the commercial appeal for such theater is decreasing as the audiences used with the style of directing driven by Aryeh are also decreasing in numbers after the pick of the alyah from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. This is life however, but with the theater performing only a few times each week I would not have expected emlty seats at such a good performance (there were not too many however).

source www.gesher-theatre.co.il

The fluent staging of the ‘Revizor’ is all the time interesting and challenging visually and emotionally. I will describe what I perceive as a measure of the quality of the directing just by observing the performances in the two principal roles in the play. The Governor is played by Dvir Benedek – who is an Israeli actor made popular by redneck roles in crime dramas and TV commercials. Here he is all the atemporal archetype of the local Mafia boss can be, with the lies and brutality, corruption and stupidity of this eternal type. Khlestakov (the Revizor) is played by Alon Friedman, another younger Israeli-born actor which I do not remember from any other film, play or TV show. He makes here a memorable creation, a complex combination of ingenuity and shrewdness, and we can see the virus of corruption taking control over him as the play progresses. I can only hope that he will use the huge potential that the director put in evidence in his creation for the further roles in his career.

The Web site of the Gesher Theater is available at http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il/.