18th century slapstick comes to life in 'A Servant of Two Masters'
Slapstick comedy, mistaken identities, and vengeful lovers run rampant to hilarious effect in the Virginia Tech Department of Theatre and Cinema's Mainstage production "A Servant of Two Masters." The production runs in Squires Studio Theatre April 12 through 14 and April 17 through 21 at 7:30 p.m. It will also run April 14,15, and 21 at 2 p.m.
Written in 1753 by Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni, the play focuses on Truffaldino, a cunning servant with an insatiable appetite. When Truffaldino discovers the opportunity to serve a second master and double his meals, he jumps at the chance. His new masters, former lovers Beatrice and Florindo, are none the wiser regarding his plan. Finding himself at the constant beck and call of the two proves nearly impossible, as a host of characters inject the play with comic gender bending disguises and misdelivered messages.
"A Servant of Two Masters" grew out of the 16th century Italian tradition of commedia dell'arte. Loosely translated as "comedy of the craft of improvisation," this theatrical form is characterized by exaggerated masks, stock characters, and extended comedic improvisations. The characters typically represent social types: foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado. The collision of these types in roughly sketched scenarios create the conditions for impromptu comedy. Since its emergence, commedia has had a far-reaching influence on everything in comedy from Shakespeare to Seinfeld.
Faculty member David Johnson directs the production. Johnson's ongoing work with students in commedia has provided the department's actors with the opportunity to perform original theatre work in Italy and participate in a workshop with master of the form Antonio Fava during his recent visit to Virginia Tech.
Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 students/seniors, and are available at the Student Centers and Activities Ticket Office in the Squires Student Center. For tickets, call 540-231-5615, order online, or purchase at the ticket office. Tickets will also be sold at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance.
Free parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Square parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional Downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.