During spring break I went to Baruch Performing Arts center... faculties and staffs of Baruch College ...

During spring break I went to Baruch Performing Arts center where the students,
faculties and staffs of Baruch College were celebrating Russian festival. It was my first
experience of an evening in a theater. I chose to see Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose” because
the name of the play sounds interesting to me. Since it was a staged reading, I thought it
would be kind of boring. My assumption came upside down after watching the play. In a
simple word, it was an awesome experience. “The Nose”, directed by Debbie Saivetz,
was freely adapted from the short story “The Nose” of Nikolai Vesilevich Gogol. The
time of the play was the present and the place was New York City. They not only
changed the time and the place of the play but also the main character’s occupation. In
the original play the main character Platon Kovalov was a collegiate assessor. In this
freely adapted play, Platon Kovalov was a tax assessor. When we entered the theater, we
enjoyed Russian music. There was a host who introduced the drama professor of Baruch
as well as the performers of the play. After a warm welcome they all took their seat.
Suddenly, a dramatic music began and the performers were looking to each other with
panic. They started turning over their pages so fast as if they are confused and puzzled. It
was a very intelligent way to give audience an idea about how the performers feel before
their live performance. There were thirteen performers and three stage director; two of
them were in charge of sound effects. Their dress up and get up were very elegant. They
all wore black and white costume. One thing that amazed me the most was the
performers’ different ethnic background. They all were from the different parts of the
world, such as: America, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Russia, India, China, Trinidad, and
The theater was full of audience. Most of the audiences were faculties and
students of Baruch with some Russian background. As a student of different school, I was
feeling kind of outsider but when I introduced myself to the director, I was amazed by his
behavior. He treated me as if I were his own student.
The show was about forty minutes. The main characters’ were:
Platon Kovalov, tax assessor
Jacques, the servant
The Nose
The Editor
Front, The Senator
Samson Yakovlevich, the barber.
The Doctor
Other characters were the priest, woman in Gauze, Cabbie, Baker, Miss Maya Kovoska,
and the cop.
It was a beautiful morning, the birds were chirping, everything was just so perfect.
Suddenly we heard a scream when the New York City’s tax assessor wakes up and finds
out that he doesn’t have a nose. He feels so ashamed that he hides his face with a blanket.
When his servant Jacques discovers Kovalov’s face without a nose, he feels disgusted.
Kovalov feels like an outcast, which made him lie. He says,” every year hundreds of nose
cancers are discovered, but nobody wants to talk about it.” After the incident, he wears a
fake nose all the time. When Kovalov goes to a restaurant, a baker mocks at him by
watching his fake nose. After realizing that Kovalov doesn’t actually have a nose, she
founds it so funny that she starts laughing and informs this news to everybody. Kovalov
feels very vulnerable and runs out from the restaurant. After that we saw Kovalov in a
church, finds out his nose starts to live it’s own life. He tries to have a conversation with
his nose. He says “I am a tax assessor, I can’t walking around the town without a nose.
Somebody else could but not me, somebody without a job, somebody without a
reputation.” His nose replies that Kovalov is making a mistake. He is not the right person
to accuse. After his nose left the church, Kovalov tries to follow him by taking a cab and
ends up in an accident. Then he decides to go to New York Times office to publish an ad
regarding his nose with a heading “Lost Nose Pimple on It, Rewarded”. At first, the
editor couldn’t believe that a person can request for such an ad. But when Kovalov
removes his fake nose, the editor is astonished and finds it as a potential for Kovalovs
being a famous person. The editor even shows interest to be his agent. Kovalov doesn’t
necessarily agree with his idea and they start arguing with each other. Kovalov was so
pissed off on him that he threatens him by saying “When was the last time your property
was assessed?” After returning from New York Times office with dishearten, Kovalov
arrives to the senator’s home to get some suggestion regarding his lost nose. Senator says
“You can loose your job or cat or wife, but losing a nose is worst”. Senator consoles him
by praising his fake nose. After returning home Kovalov was devastated to find out that
his nose is getting married to his fiancée Miss Maya Kovaska. Finally, he goes to a cop to
report his lost nose. After reporting about his lost nose, a cop discovers a nose out of
garbage behind a barber shop. She gives Kovalov his nose back but in return she takes
some money from him saying that she needs it for her children’s education. Kovalov was
thinking that the barber has something to do with it. He says, “Is it a simple case of
unprofessional behavior or some big secret was underneath?” Kovalov decides to take his
revenge by going after forensic investigation on the barbers’ tax payment history. In the
meantime, the cop shuts down Samson Yakovlevich’s barber shop. Meanwhile, Kovalov
goes to a doctor to fix his nose. The doctor tries her best, but fails to fix the nose.
Kovalov gets very much disappointed when he understands the complicacy of fixing his
nose. He says, “Without my nose I can forget doing Samson Kovaliavich’s taxes, I can
forget doing anybody’s taxes, I am no longer a tax assessor, what else is left for me?” He
decides to change his name and go someplace where a man without a nose can find a
work and be socially accepted. He plans to move to Florida along with his servant
Jacques. Next morning when he wakes up, he finds his nose back right where it belongs
and cancels his flight to Florida. Being unable to run his shop, Samson comes to Kovalov
to take his revenge.
In my point of view, Platon Kovalov’s repetition of “I am a tax assessor” was
very funny. It reminds me how elite class members in our society try to dominate and
exploit working class people. Even though it was a staged reading, using different objects
made it very interesting. Since the play is about the nose, all the performers were wearing
fake nose during the play, such as: a nose representing vegetable (potato and carrot), or a
nose resembling animals (pig and bull dog), or a nose of a fairy tale (pinokeo). It was
very creative and thoughtful the way performers’ played their role. When the servant
acted, he brought a broom which shows he was doing household chores. When the baker
performed her role, she wore a chef’s cap and when the senator acted, he wore American
flag as his napkin. At the beginning of the play, we had to wait for a long time to see the
face of Kovalov as he was hiding his face with a blanket because of the embarrassment of
not having a nose. The end of the play was as ambiguous as the original version of the
play. It was not clear at all why the nose left Kovalov and transforms in to a person at the
first place, and why did it come back as a nose? However, overall I enjoyed the play. The
performers were beyond brilliant. They acted as if they were professional. This
experience definitely boosts my interest to go to a theater again.