THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
by Nikolai Gogol
Bureaucracy, corruption, greed, sycophancy and fear lend themselves to comedy of universal scope, and that is why Gogol's The Inspector General, written 143 years ago, was born deathless.
The mayor of a tiny provincial Russian town, whose name, Anton Antonovich Skvoznik-Dmukhanovsky, is almost larger than his constituency, has been tipped off that a government agent of high rank is coming, incognito, to inspect local fiscal affairs. Since the mayor (The odore Bikel) and his appointed underlings are as crooked as counterfeit rubles, they are understandably panicky.