SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) – Seventeen cast members of the Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundation have been incredibly busy for the past few months preparing for the second production of theatre Director, Albina Matuzko – a Russian classic called THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR and scheduled to run at the Backstreet Community Center, June 15, 16 and 17.
Ms. Matuzko was the toast of St. Maarten’s theatre scene last year when she staged her first production of Stephen Leacock’s comic play Behind the Beyond, also introducing her main supporting cast.
This time around she is whetting appetites of theatre-lovers everywhere with her offering (and own unique comic adaptation) of the GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR - an 1842 play written by beloved Russian writer, Nikolai Gogol. The play has been made into several movies. It has also been performed all over the world, in practically every language and at every level from amateur theatre, to college campus and to magnificent theatrical stage productions. Most of all, the play is still as relevant and recognizable today as it was all those years ago.
“Our new production is another classic in every sense of the word even though it is 176 years old,” said Director Matuzko.
“The story is about human nature, the vulnerabilities that we all have, the exposure of our ambitions and the steps we are prepared to take in realizing those ambitions. It’s about knowing who we are, where we’ve come from and a hint of where we should not be going,” continued the director teasingly.
She is once again putting her cast of players forward for mention because of their amazing commitment to the Arts on St. Maarten, recognizing the many, many hours they have already spent in the past weeks and months rehearsing lines and working out the finer points of the production, even though many of them have also had their own personal lives and businesses disrupted by Hurricane Irma last year.
“This is the most amazing group of talent that I am so happy to work with because of their commitment and drive. They keep me going when at times I’ve felt like just giving up,” said Ms. Matuzko, herself a driven practitioner of the arts who demands the best of her performers.
“We have had many challenges to get to this moment of our production after deciding last year to make our next production THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR.
“It was impossible to find a place to rehearse and practice our craft, and when we finally found a place in the Cole Bay area, Hurricane Irma came and took that way from us,” recalled the director.
She remembers thinking at the time what she could possibly do to keep her troupe together, some of whom have never been on stage before, but all of whom were needed if the new production, with its demand for a large number of performers, was to have any chance of being performed to a St. Maarten audience.
The director says with support from the Netherlands Representative Office in Philipsburg (VNP) immediately after Hurricane Irma, the Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundation was able to provide its own brand of emotional relief to local communities by teaming up with Clowns Without Borders to bring laughter and joy on St. Maarten.
With this new sense of purpose, the group continued with its production of the Government Inspector when members learned that the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds would be donating to the group so that they could continue with their production.
Director Matuzko is especially thankful to the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for their generous support.
“I can honestly say that without the donation we received of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds , together with VNP and Oranje Fonds, which was the sponsor of the SXM DOET program that has assisted groups like ours, we would not have been able to continue with our production after Hurricane Irma took away all that we had, such as props, costumes, etc.” said Ms. Matuzko.
“I remember at the time that all of our spirits were down when we realized we could not continue. When Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds said they could help us, I can’t describe in words how happy we were and how grateful we are to them for recognizing the importance of supporting the Arts after something as devastating as Hurricane Irma had shaken everything up,” the director said.
Albina Matuzko, members of the cast, volunteers and fans of the Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundation will now be stepping up the pace of their rehearsals in the coming days as the deadline towards opening night draws nearer.
Everyone is excited about the prospect of showing what they have been working on these past months and are looking forward to audience reaction to their second production – The GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR.