Il Cappotto

2 Foto incorniciata dal testo1995 – 1996 Chiaravalle AN
A theatre of possible possibilities

The overcoat by V.N.Gogol’

“In the department of—but it is better not to mention the department. There is nothing more irritable than departments, regiments, courts of justice, and, in a word, every branch of public service” 1.

Published in 1842, Gogol’s Overcoat is still a contemporary text today: an “evergreen”. Bureaucracy creates ridiculous and illogical situations generating illness among their victims as well as among those who produce them.
Our Akakij Akakievic (desk clerk in a department) is the victim of a bureaucratic system which puts administrating proceedings first and has no consideration for the personal dramas of those who, like Akakij Akakievic, are suffering from a material and spiritual loss and apply to state institutions for a help. After being robbed of his overcoat, Akakij desperately tries to make a complaint to the police. “What, my dear sir! Are you not acquainted with etiquette? Where have you come from? Don’t you know how such matters are managed? You should first have entered a complaint about this at the court below: it would have gone to the head of the department, then to the chief of the division, then it would have been handed over to the secretary, and the secretary would have given it to me”. That is the bureaucrat’s answer to Akaij Akakievic’ timid request for help. And it’s not only a matter of hierarchical order, but also, and mainly, of the intimidation generated by the degree (the role), the setting (majestic buildings and offices) and the image behind which the worst of a human being often hides.

 1From the “Narrator”’s introduction to the show The overcoat.

CET Educational Center for Theatre
Academic Year 1995 – 1996, Artistic Director: Mario Gallo

Educational Center for Theatre - Picture Archive