Image Credit The Oregon Center for the Arts
A modern take on a hilariously classic Italian play. Can this servant serve two masters and deceive them both successfully?
Oregon Center for the Arts presents The Servant of Two Masters written by Carlo Goldoni and directed by Brendan McMahon. The show included a cast of SOU students: Jennie Babisch as the titular character Truffaldino; Nicole Villavicencio Gonzalez as the first master Beatrice; Keigin Tosh as the second master Florindo; Tim Turner as Pantalone; Aleeyah Enriquez as Clarice, Pantalones daughter; Chloe Boyan as Smeraldina, Clarice’s servant; Kyler Deanda as Silvio, Clarice’s lover; Johnathan Price as II Dottore, Silvio’s father; Thilini Dissanayake as Brighella, the chef at an inn; and Hayley Kennen, AnaLea Varni, and Samuel as the Zannis. The play centered around a perpetually famished lackey who schemes to double their wages by serving two masters simultaneously while going to extreme lengths to conceal their ruse.
This play takes the classic Italian comedy and places parts of the script into modern terms. The themes of the original play are handled with a bit of modern flair, mainly with how they tackle pronouns. In the original, the lead harlequin, Truffaldino, is a man but with SOU’s production they changed Truffles’ pronouns to they/them to fit the actor. They include a lot of modern takes on the play, specifically with pronouns, with Truffaldino asking one of the other characters, the cook, what their pronouns were, to which they responded with the threat of making Truffaldino’s pronouns was/were. This comedic way of handling pronouns inadvertently makes a statement on how different people handle pronouns today, but also having respect for people’s pronouns throughout the play.
The actors also made a lot of allusions to modern times through other jokes. At one point Truffaldino made a mention of social distancing and a joke that “at least some of us are wearing masks” and then another statement about shopping in Medford. They also made a reference to Lady Gaga’s song “Bad Romance” while two servants were trying to read while being completely illiterate. The idea of including contemporary references in the script was incredibly interesting and it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the play.
Going into the play, I had no idea what to expect. I had never heard of this play before and just assumed it would be a normal version of the play, with no modern additions. I also did not expect the play to open with no dialogue between the three Zannis, and then a song telling us where the exits were, to stay seated and enjoy the show. The transition from song to the first scene was very smooth and when they went to intermission, they had another song that told the audience how long the intermission would be.
The play runs for 1 hour and 50 minutes with a 10 minute intermission. While many think that it is a long duration, the amount of comedy and laughter that circulates throughout the play makes it very fun and worth the time.
A note on the scene that is right before intermission is needed: this is a scene where Truffaldino attempts to serve their two masters dinner, and the amount of time and effort that went into this scene is immaculate. Truffaldino had to catch food coming from over the set and they did so wonderfully.
There are still more shows for Servant.
- Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 8pm
- Friday, March 4, 2022 at 8pm
- Saturday March 5, 2022 at 8pm
- Sunday, March 6, 2022 at 2pm
Here is the link to tickets!