The auditor

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Title: The auditor
Original title: Ревизор / Rewisor
Genus: Comedy in five acts
Original language: Russian
Author: Nikolai Gogol
Publishing year: 1836
Premiere: April 19, 1836
Place of premiere: Alexandrinsky Theater , Saint Petersburg
  • Anton Antonowitsch Skwosnik-Dmuchanowski , City Governor
  • Anna Andreevna , his wife
  • Marja Antonovna , his daughter
  • Luka Lukitsch Chlopow , school inspector
  • His wife
  • Ammos Fjodorowitsch Lyapkin-Tjapkin , judge
  • Artemi Filippowitsch Semlyanika , curator of the poor institutions
  • Ivan Kuzmich Schpekin , postmaster
  • Landowner:
    • Pyotr Ivanovich Dobchinsky
    • Pyotr Ivanovich Bobchinsky
  • Ivan Alexandrovich Chlestakov , an official from Petersburg
  • Ossip , his servant
  • Christian Iwanowitsch Hübner , district doctor
  • Officials in parting dignitaries of the city:
    • Fyodor Andreyevich Lyulyukov
    • Ivan Lazarevich Rastakovsky
    • Stepan Ivanovich Korobkin
  • Stepan Ilyich Uchowjortow , police overseer
  • Police officers:
    • Swistunow
    • Pugowitsyn
    • Derschimorda
  • Abdulin , merchant
  • Fevronja Petrovna Poschljopkina , a locksmith's wife
  • Wife of the sergeant
  • Mishka , servant of the police master
  • A waiter
  • Guests, merchants, citizens and supplicants
First edition from 1836

The Auditor ( Russian Ревизор ) is a comedy in five acts by Nikolai Gogol . Gogol wrote the comedy in 1835. In 1836 it was published. The premiere took place on April 19, 1836 in Saint Petersburg in the Alexandrinsky Theater , the first performance for Moscow in May 1836 in the Small Theater. The play is still one of the most frequently performed on stage schedules, also in Germany.


In a small Russian town the news was spread that an auditor was incognito on his way to town. All the city officials, especially the city governor as head, are afraid of this visit. After all, each of them has a mess: they allow themselves to be smeared, bribed or do not do their job.

At the same time, a young man, Chlestakov, from St. Petersburg stayed in an inn. He has been living there for two weeks and has not yet paid a bill, but has always had everything written down. The rumor quickly spread that the young man was the auditor.

The two parties soon meet. Chlestakov thinks he will be taken away because of the unpaid bills and is furious. He yells around and complains that the food doesn't taste good anyway. The city governor is completely intimidated by this outbreak and is even more convinced that he is dealing with a real civil servant. He calms Chlestakov down and thinks he should play the incognito game. Chlestakov tells his true story here: that he was ordered back from St. Petersburg by his father because he has not achieved anything in the office. However, he takes a little time to travel home because he has absolutely no desire to go home. However, he has no more money. The city governor quickly slips him 400 rubles as a bribe. He also offers him to live in his guest room.

Now Chlestakov is offered various sightseeing tours through the city, and he is repeatedly given some money. At first he thinks the people here are very good-natured and generous, but then realizes that they are mistaking him for someone. Nevertheless, he continues to play the game, even becoming engaged to the city governor's daughter. Shortly afterwards he runs away. While officials in town are celebrating the engagement, the postmaster appears who has opened a letter from Chlestakov to a friend. In it, Chlestakov makes fun of the people in the city, and the dizziness is exposed. Chlestakov, however, is long gone while the real auditor is waiting.


In Russia, Gogol's comedy follows on from the new direction that had already turned away from classical drama with Griboyedov's “Gore ot uma” ( Mind Creates Suffering ), and goes a whole step further by only parodying the love motif that has always existed . At Gogol, the comedy takes on the structure of the comedy of confusion. The fact that the overall course of the piece is based on this constant mix-up gives the work a compositional cohesion. The comedy is based on the fact that the deception is not recognized by the characters in the play, but is noticed early by the audience.

The deceived people are indeed the "deceived fraudsters" who were laughed at in earlier comedies, but in Gogol it is not individuals, but the entire corrupt society of contemporary Russia. This turns Gogol's comedy into a social comedy, the city represented is a model for all of Russia. Gogol himself found that this comedy was "the rallying point for all possible shortcomings". Its exaggerations and distortions also make it grotesque , even if - compared to other works by Gogol - the "Revisor" contains comparatively few elements of the grotesque. We get “insights into the wrongness of the world in which we ourselves live”. “Laughing at oneself” loses the character of mere mockery, since it has a “cleansing effect”. Laughter is given "the power to make the tragedy of existence bearable through laughter" (Ionesco).

The city governor and the officials who have to recognize their deception at the end of the play have lost their previous security. They were deceived by Chlestakov, the supposed auditor, but since the whole thing seems incomprehensible to everyone in the silent final scene, one is more inclined to ascribe the whole thing to the devil, who had "his hand in the game". Here a principle of Gogol's worldview becomes recognizable, namely that “everything is lies and deceit”. Nothing is what it seems, one continues to be mistaken about what the other is. Confusion as a problem of identity.


Film adaptations

  • 1922: His Excellency the Auditor
  • 1932: A city is upside down - Director: Gustaf Gründgens
  • 1949: The Inspector General ( The Inspector General ) - Director: Henry Koster
  • 1950: Afsar - Director: Chetan Anand
  • 1952: The Revisor ( Rewisor ) - Director: Vladimir Petrow
  • 1967: The Auditor - Director: Gustav Rudolf Sellner; with Hans Clarin as Chlestakov
  • 1972: Lambaaye - Director: Mahama J. Traoré
  • 1973: Calzonzin inspector - Director: Alfonso Arau
  • 1977: Inkognito from Petersburg ( Inkognito is Peterburga ) - Director: Leonid Gaidai
  • 1981: Le revizor (TV) - Director: Philippe Laïk
  • 1996: Rewisor - Director: Sergei Gasarow


Radio plays


  • 1926: The Auditor - Director: Vsewolod Emiljewitsch Meyerhold - TIM Moscow
  • 2008: The Auditor - Director: Tilman Gersch - Theater Göttingen
  • 2009: The Auditor - Director: René Schnoz - FRECH: Freilichtspiele Chur;
  • 2009: The Auditor - Director: Sebastian Nübling - Schauspielhaus Zürich
  • 2010: The Auditor - Director: Peter Kube - Hans Otto Theater Potsdam
  • 2010: The Auditor - Director: Susanne Ebert - Kammerspiele Paderborn
  • 2011: Der Revisor - Director: Sabine Hahn - Ensemble EbenDIE Comedia Theater Cologne
  • 2011: The Auditor - Director: Steffen Mensching - Theater Rudolstadt
  • 2012: The Auditor - Director: Wolfram Apprich - Theater Baden-Baden
  • 2012: Der Sparkommissar (based on “Der Revisor”) - Director: Peter Carp - Theater Oberhausen
  • 2012: Der Revisor - Director: Benno Busch - Liebhabertheater Sondershausen
  • 2012: The Auditor - Director: Herbert Fritsch - Residenztheater Munich
  • 2013: The Auditor - Production: André Turnheim - Landestheater Linz
  • 2015: Der Revisor - Production: Alvis Hermanis - Burgtheater Wien , with Fabian Krüger , Michael Maertens , Maria Happel , Dörte Lyssewski , Oliver Stokowski , Johann Adam Oest and Falk Rockstroh .


Individual evidence

  1. Monique Heße: The ‹Revisor› or In Search of the “Real” Gogol , Leipzig 2015, p. 32.
  2. Monique Heße: The ‹Revisor› or In Search of the “Real” Gogol , Leipzig 2015.