Theatre Department to perform ‘Servant of Two Masters’

By Tessa Brubaker, Campus Reporter

Mackenzie Crosson
“The Servant of Two Masters” will have its opening performance on Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. and will run through Oct. 21 in Studio 404 of the Theatre Center, 72 E. 11th St.

The Theatre Department will present a modernized version of the 18th century classic “Servant of Two Masters,” which begins a two-week run on Oct. 11.

“Servant of Two Masters” was written by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni and published in 1753 in the style of Commedia Dell’arte, an Italian theatrical form originating in the 15th century that uses colorful stock characters, masks and improvisation.

The production at Getz Theatre Center, 72 E. 11 St., follows four lovers and a servant named Truffaldino, who must appease two different masters concurrently. With secrets piling on top of each other and Truffaldino dealing with a hunger for food he cannot control, suspicion arises for everyone involved.

“It is a style that is not what people are used to and not what they’re used to seeing on TV because it requires masks,” said Ric Walker, the show’s director and assistant professor of instruction in the Theatre Department. “It’s not a style that actors generally have seen on the college level.”

Walker said he reworked the script with help from the cast to add modern comedy bits, which seem improvised.

“My goal with doing this was to not treat it as a museum piece but as living theater,” Walker said. “I felt like we had the liberty to take the playwright’s words and hopefully honor them but not adhere to them.”

Because the show is often comedic, Walker, who is a comedian himself, cast comedy majors to showcase the script’s Commedia Dell’arte style. Most of the actors will be wearing masks in accordance with tradition, Walker said.

Molly Gloeckner, a sophomore theatre major, playing the role of Truffaldino, said she did not have any previous experience with Commedia Dell’arte before the production but had fun adjusting to it and playing in the unrealistic and comedic world.

“Everything about Commedia Dell’arte is [an adjustment]; we’re wearing masks and you’re very open to the audience and it’s very presentational and not realistic at all,” Gloeckner said. “It’s a lot of fun to play with.”

Chris Larson, sophomore theatre major, plays the part of Sylvio, one of the young lovers in the production. Larson said he hopes the audience enjoys Commedia Dell’arte and the effort put into the show.

“I hope they appreciate the work that we do as far as commedia dell’arte goes with just the physicality of it,” Larson said. “It’s going to be really enjoyable to watch; I hope they get lost in the world, honestly.”

Walker said that the actors are doing a great job of bringing the humor from the script to life.

“It’ll be fun,” Walker said. “I wanted it to be silly but I also wanted it to have just a couple moments of pathos and I think that hopefully we hit those notes.”

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