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Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol's Marriage: An Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts, (1833) is a "luminous, hilarious cosmic farce."
Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol's Marriage: An Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts, (1833) is a "luminous, hilarious cosmic farce."
54 backers pledged $2,890 to help bring this project to life.

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MARRIAGE--an absurdly funny performance of Gogol's play. project video thumbnail
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The men of Nikolai Gogol's Marriage: An Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts, OR The Millionaire Matchmaker meets 1833 St. Petersburg, Russia.

Russian playwright and novelist Nikolai Gogol’s Marriage: An Utterly Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts, (1833), a “luminous, hilarious cosmic farce,” is an absurdly poetic tale about the business of marriage.  A town matchmaker and a newly betrothed busybody match wits in a race to marry off a gun-shy suitor.  Calamity ensues and it's anybody's guess whether the bride will make it to the altar. 

Nikolay (Vasilyevich) Gogol (1809-1852) -- The Grandfather of Absurdism? 

Great Russian novelist, dramatist, satirist, founder of the so-called critical realism in Russian literature, best-known for his novel MERTVYE DUSHI I-II (1842, Dead Souls). Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics found in Gogol's work strains of absurdism, surrealism and the grotesque in The Nose, Viy, The Overcoat, and Nevsky Prospekt. His later writing satirised political corruption in the Russian Empire in The Government Inspector and Dead Souls, leading to his eventual exile. The novelTaras Bulba (1835) and the play Marriage (1842), along with the short stories Diary of a Madman, The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich, and The Portrait and The Carriage, round out the tally of his best-known works.  

"Characteristic of Gogol is a sense of boundless superfluity and absurdity that is soon revealed as utter emptiness, and a rich comedy that suddenly turns into metaphysical horror." His stories often interweave pathos and mockery. Dostoevsky is reported to have said (referring to himself and his fellow Realists) "...we have all come out from under Gogol's 'Overcoat'..." (referring to the famous story by Gogol). 

Marriage was Gogol's response to the conventional plot endings of popular Russian comedies of the early 1800’s in which the protagonists overcame obstacles to a happy storybook ending. Written nearly 200 years ago, Marriage illuminates a subject as old as the hills in an absurd and fresh translation with plot (and outcome) not unlike the current Bravo network television series The Millionaire Matchmaker.  

Which suitor will winningly woo the hand and dowry of Agafya Tikhonovna Kuperdyagina?  We're raising funds for this obscure gem Gogol's Marriage production "dowry." Follow the progress beginning January 17, 2012 for 40 days to see how Agafya's dowry grows.  Funds will purchase (in 1833 Russian rubles): 

A Two Storey Stone House in Moscow with Two Wooden Wings: One Completely Wooden, One on a Stone Foundation

A Droshky: A Two Seater Sleigh with Wooden Carvings

Two Rugs: One Large and One Small

Two Dozen Silver Spoons

Two Fox Fur Coats

Four Large Feather Beds, Two Small Feather Beds

Six Silk Dresses, Six Cotton Dresses, Two Night Gowns

Marriage: An Utterly Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts is the latest project from the six-year old Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, whose mission is to present and preserve seldom-performed gems from absurdist authors from around the world.  While the term didn't come into fashion until much later, Gogol certainly set the stage for generations of absurdist writers to come.  IRC. We Bring Good Nothingness to Life. 

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Your full name (including surname) will be published in the Marriage: An Utterly Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts show program. In addition, a handful of rice will be thrown in your honor at the nuptuals of Agafya Tikhonovna Kuperdyagina and whichever suitor she chooses to be her husband.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    The above wedding favors, in addition, an autographed 4 X 6 inch photographic reproduction of Nikolai Gogol, the author of Marriage: An Utterly Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts, rendered in a style reminiscent of the artist known as Andy Warhol.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The above wedding favors, in addition, your own "Nikanor Ivanovich Anuchkin" mustache for home use and parlor gaming. (Please specify: Cassanova, Desperado, Playboy or Scoundrel. One size fits all. Black hair color only.)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The above wedding favors, and, in addition, five 3 X 8 inch autographed paper doll suitors, suitable for framing: Nikanor Ivanovich Anuchkin, Retired Naval Lieutenant Baltazar Baltazarovitch Zhevakin, Court Councillor Ivan Kuzmich Podkolyosin, Aleksei Dmitrievich Starikov(s) and Collegiate Assessor Ivan Pavlovich Pancake.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The above wedding favors, and, in addition, two invitations to the opening night партия (party) for Nikolai Gogol's Marriage: An Utterly Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts on Friday, February 10, 2012. Tea from a samovar will be served (and heavy russian fare).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All of the above wedding favors, and, in addition, two tickets to any available performance of Nikolai Gogol's Marriage: An Improbable Occurrence in Two Acts. Transportation by droshky to the opening night партия (party) is included.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above wedding favors, in addition, Court Councillor Ivan Kuzmich Podkolyosin will treat you to a backrub onstage, on opening night. браво!

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Funding period

- (41 days)