The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni

RECOMMENDED FOR: Senior Secondary Students, Tertiary Students

A PLAY TO: read, read aloud, study, perform excerpts and scenes, use as a stimulus for creating, produce

CAST: 6F, 6M – in this version Pantalone is played as Pantalona – a female version of the traditional character

STYLES: Commedia dell’ Arte including mask, physical comedy/slapstick, improvisation

THEMES AND CONCEPTS: Love, confusion, mistaken identity

CURRICULUM LINKS: The Arts – Drama, Theatre Studies, Senior Drama

SYNOPSIS: There are so many servants looking for a master and I have found two! Yay. What the hell do I do now? I can’t serve both, can I?

Hungry servant Truffaldino bites off more than he can chew when he agrees to serve two masters at the same time! Now he must hold everything together without exposing his scam and woo his love interest, spicy Smeraldina, all at the same time. Meanwhile, Beatrice and Florindo pine for each other, desperately seeking one another in Venice. On the flipside, young lovers Silvio and Clarice seesaw from swearing undying love to pledging eternal hatred.

A calamitous comedy unfolds as Truffaldino skids and schemes his way through multiple beatings, mistaken identity and love gone awry on the streets of decadent 18th-century Venice. This new translation and adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s classic by Rosa Campagnaro and Make A Scene maintains the traditional improvised spirit and grotesque masks of Commedia dell’Arte in a contemporary reimagining.

STAGING: Traditional commedia playing spaces were high rectangular stages, roughly three by four metres. Upstage there was a simple curtain with an opening in the middle to enter by and to reveal – from the script. The play is written to be staged using traditional Commedia conventions including masks, props and minimal set items. Students could make their own masks as a study in mask making.

FURTHER LINKS: The playwright can provide schools with comprehensive resources and additional assistance for studying and producing this play

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