The Servant of Two Masters at Mary Baldwin Feb. 17-21

February 12, 2010

This February 17-21, Mary Baldwin University Theatre presents Carlo Goldoni’s classic Italian comedy, The Servant of Two Masters, translated and adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and Paolo Emilio Landi. Dr. Virginia R. Francisco ’64 — longtime local theatre favorite — directs the show, her final production before her retirement.

The Servant of Two Masters is a fast-paced, highly physical, hilarious comedy that has delighted audiences since the 1740s with its crop of zany characters who get into all kinds of trouble bumbling around 18th century Venice.

The plot centers on Truffaldino — the play’s arlechinno or clown character. Short on cash (and shorter on food) Truffaldino hires himself out as a servant for two gentlemen at the same time. Confusion and hilarity ensue as Truffaldino does some serious juggling to keep both jobs a secret from the whole quirky neighborhood, which includes: a pair of foolish lovers, a blow-hard doctor, a greedy merchant and a woman disguised as a man. Will Truffaldino succeed or will he be double beaten by both his masters?

This zany piece comes from the classic comic style, Commedia dell’Arte, known for its bits of slapstick physical humor. J.P. Scheidler, longtime member of the Blackfriars Playhouse company, now teacher of stage fighting and physical theatre, brings his knowledge of clowning to coach student performers to a new level of professionalism for the Mary Baldwin stage. These actors have worked for weeks to perfect their skills in juggling, sword fighting, singing, dancing, and tumbling, making this show a hugely varied piece of family entertainment.

The cast, consisting entirely of Mary Baldwin undergrads, includes Linnea Barklund, Helena Billington, Jesi Dunnivan, Kate Given, Miranda Hynes, Katelyn Scott, Ellen-Jean Selby and Simone Williams.

The Servant of Two Mastersruns February 17-21, Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Shows are performed in the Fletcher Collins Theatre in the Deming Hall arts building on the Mary Baldwin campus.

Seats are limited. Ticket reservations are strongly recommended and can be made with Visa or MasterCard by contacting the box office at 540-887-7189. Box-office hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $10 for other adults.