Nikolai Gogol was a tormented Russian playwright who was born in 1809 and died 43 years later, after taking to his bed and fasting. He wrote nine plays, the most well-known of which is "The Inspector General."

His next most famous play is "The Marriage," a farce that he subtitled "An Utterly Incredible Occurrence." The Source Theatre has recently opened a production of it at The Vault.

The plot concerns a bachelor who calls in a matchmaker to find him a bride. The bride is pursued by three other suitors, and the friend conspires to get rid of them. Faced with the prospect of immediate marriage, however, the bachelor flees.

All this is accomplished with a great deal of running around, tricks and the foolishness of the characters. The Vault's stage is tiny, so there is no scenery, and when all 10 characters are onstage the place looks like a costume parade. Director Sabina Lozovsky has occasionally placed the action on the floor, at which point it is invisible to all but those sitting in the first few rows.

The cast is clearly amateur and without experience in the farcical style. The broadness of farce must be tempered by complete physical and vocal control, and accented by subtlety. In this production, there is only broadness.

"The Marriage," by Nicolai Gogol, directed by Sabina Lozovsky, lighting by Lea Hart, choreography by Jan Taylor, costumes by Rita Tehan and Elizabeth Bernan.

With: Peter Galitzan, Bill Mangler, Sarah Casell, James Gregorio, Judith Lyon, Elizabeth Pratt, Debra Churos, Jake Stern, Ross Beatty, Stephen Kelly.