Classic Italian play with modern twist

Truffaldino (Ryan Saylor) and fellow servant Smeraldina (Chealsea Beyries) playfully flirt with saucy banter in “The servant of two masters.”

Grant Wetmore, Opinion Editor

“The Servant of Two Master’s” can be summed up as pure comedy. Every tried and true trick in the joke book is in this classic play. You’ll see slapstick, innuendos and misunderstandings galore. And it can’t be a comedy without a wedding!

The play is a modern adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s 18th century performance. It follows the story of Truffaldino who, as the title of the show suggests, is a servant who winds up with two masters at the same time. However, the plot gets a little Shakespearian from here on out. You see, there is this couple who wants to get married but the bride-to-be’s ex-fiance comes back from the dead but it’s not really him. One of Truffaldino’s masters is actually a woman in disguise, and the other master is looking for said woman. It’s all very confusing trying to summarize it up in a couple sentences. But don’t worry, every time an important plot point comes up, a woman will come on stage holding a big sign that says “Exposition”. Just pay attention when you see her and keep your playbill handy, and you’ll be fine.

Everything about the play is a glorious mash-up of physical and verbal humor. It’s like the script was co-written by the Three Stooges and the Marx brothers and performed by a “family friendly” Deadpool. The show starts out like a train: slow at first, but as the cast and audience gets warmed up, it’s non-stop laughter till the very end.

One scene that brought the house down was when one of the characters, Clarice, “forgets” her lines during a crucial moment. This causes the stage manager to come out with a piece of paper saying he is mute. What follows is the stage manager flailing and jumping around stage in a game of charades as the cast try to decipher Clarice’s lines. When they finally get it, the stage manager lets out a long and loud “Yay!”.

What sets “The Servant of Two Masters” apart from other plays is the acrobatics spread throughout the entire performance. The show has more than it’s fair share of flips and tricks. Not to mention a generous helping of butt slaps and kicks. A scene where these artful stunts showcased perfectly is when Truffaldino has to wait on both his masters simultaneously. Truffaldino and two waiters prance about the stage running through doors, running into doors and juggling meatballs. The scene finishes with Truffaldino getting hit with two cream pies. And that’s all before the intermission.  

The play may not be timeless, it is certainly adaptable. The story originally takes place in Renaissance Venice, but is the brilliantly modernized for today’s audience with just the right amount of lewdness and breaking the fourth wall. In one instance, Truffaldino asks Brighella, the innkeeper, for directions to the inn. Brighella proceeds to tell Truffaldino instructions on how to exit the auditorium and how to get to Snoopy’s Home Ice and finishes by saying “If you reach downtown Forestville, you’ve gone too far.” When Truffaldino asks him to repeat these directions, Brighella simply tells him to exit stage right.

“The Servant of Two Masters” is masterfully done. The theatre department did an excellent job with set and costume design. The characters and their antics are hilarious. If you can spare the price for admission, go support this fantastic play.