The Nose

by Nicolaï Gogol.

To Stage – PROGRAMMING

After my very serious point about our situation, we need a little lightness, don’t we ? I sure do.

As I’m not the only one in the world who regularly needs freshness and lightness, let’s talk about fresh and light works.

The peculiarity of Gogol’s story is that it seems so incredible that you can’t take it seriously.

No, you won’t feel sorry for the college assessor Kovaliov.

He’s the main character, if you stay within the classic framework of the story.
He’s unbearable. He thinks he’s beautiful – tall – great – handsome – brilliant.

Of course, he is none of these things, and his misadventures are a great thing to read!

What’s the story?
It’s very simple: one morning, at breakfast, the barber Ivan Yakovlevitch finds a nose in his freshly baked roll.
He protests to his wife and is literally insulted: it’s surely his fault, the drunkard’s fault – he has inadvertently cut off the nose of one of his customers.

This is the only rational explanation we will have in the whole story.

For his part, Plato Kuzmitch Kovaliov, the college assessor, wakes up and notes with terror that his nose has disappeared. No blood, no gore. No, instead of a nose there’s nothing.

And now: how, when you are a very good gentleman, are you going to live without your nose?
Put on a scarf all the time? And what about dinners, how do you do it?
What if it’s windy?
And won’t the others see that… …there’s no bump under the scarf?

How to make his little visits for an easy marriage? What will miss’s family say?
And at work?

A disaster, that’s what life is like without a nose.
And nobody cares.

Here’s our assessor trying to regain his nose: not just anyone can be an assessor, he won’t let himself be beaten down for so little.

Everything is becoming more and more crazy and weird (from France, it seems like English humour with a Monty Python sauce).

And at the height of the story, the pain and hassle of the assessor at the max, in the street, wham: he sees Him. It’s him, it’s his nose.

His nose, dressed like a state councillor, who is about to get into a horse-drawn carriage.
Kovaliov, sure of his rightness, is sure that his nose is coming back to its place.

I don’t need to tell you the rest… What would you choose? Between being a great servant of the state or an ignored servant of a henchman?

You all get it: I love this story.

In my summer quest for: what stories would be so great to adapt, this week I fell for this little folly by Nicolas Gogol.

It’s a “cream” to direct: there’s movement, twists and turns, pure and joyful madness, characters to fall to the ground, just crunched, with no psychology or past or tricks, so well seen that you know they’re real. And on top of that, there will be all the inventiveness needed to show that amazing thing: Mr. No-Nosed met his well-dressed nose.

I can already see what ideas we can come up with to make this very imposing nose wander around.
And to make it smaller.
So some directors…
And find the music that never lets you get into the weird and scary –
I’m telling you, a show… a beautiful show, full of freshness and weirdness.

Later, if you like, you can ask yourself what he put in our heads, Mr. Nicolas Gogol, with his absurd story. He laughed a little at us and our “seriousness”.

Home Page

Featured Image : lucky man with a nose. Where do you put your nose clip, without your nose? We humans are all the same – as long as we don’t worry, we laugh about it!

6 Thoughts

  1. Yes we all need fun 😹
    The first super star of Bollywood was Dilip Kumar and he was great in tragedy roles. But after every sad movie he used to act in a light movie just to come out of the sad mood 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this short story, it’s my favourite of Gogol’s. There’s also a short story called The Nose by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa that’s even more surreal. And also would be rather good for a stage play.

    Liked by 1 person

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