Theater students are closing the curtain on the 2016-2017 school year with a comedic flashback performance to 1960s Italy.
“The Servant of Two Masters” follows the character Truffaldino, a poor servant working two jobs, to earn enough money to marry his love, a housemaid named Smeraldina.
Professor of Communications and Theater Phil Reagan is the director of the production. According to Reagan, one theme of “The Servant of Two Masters” is the difference between what people say and what they truly think.
“In this play, characters talk in ‘asides’ to the audience,” Reagan said. “A character will say one thing to another character, and then in an aside to the audience, what they are actually thinking. Often, this is at odds with what the character has said to another character.”
Reagan said the second theme of the play focuses on the tensions between classes associated with status.
“In this play, there are the working-class people who work for the upper class,” Reagan said. “Many times the working class doesn’t have much respect for their employers because the employers can play and relax while the workers have to work to make a living.”
This production will mark Reagan’s final performance as a director. Although Reagan said he cherishes each play he has the opportunity to organize, this production offers unique aspects he particularly appreciates.
Reagan said with the help of professional magician Rob Lake, the cast and crew were able to create supernatural, on-stage tricks.
“There is a magic element in the play,” Reagan said. “One of the characters climbs into a trunk and disappears. The audience will see the character do this in full view with no way for the actor to leave the stage.”
The character Truffaldino will be depicted by freshman Seth Parker. Parker said this production is unique compared to other performances he has been involved in due to its high energy and slapstick humor.
“I am really excited about this character because this is a very physical show that involves a lot of action,” Parker said. “I can’t wait to see the fruits of our labor in the form of laughter and applause from friends and family.”
Parker said along from the responsibility of memorizing lines, his favorite aspects of rehearsals were forming new friendships and experiencing how to make a comedy come alive.
“I have loved being able to spend all this quality time with my fellow castmates and sharing laughs and struggles with them,” Parker said. “I also learned that it takes more than a funny script to make a comedy. The actors and actresses are really what determine if the show is funny.”
Freshman Abigail Kent portrays the character Clarice, the fiery daughter of the character Pantalone.
“She has an unpredictable temper and desires to see justice come from the situations the script throws at her,” Kent said. “I have enjoyed taking on Clarice’s character because although Clarice doesn’t say much throughout the play, she fills the stage whenever she is present.”
Kent said the production will provide audience members comedic relief to take their minds off end-of-the-semester stress.
“The audience will love the hilarious, almost out-of-control characters,” Kent said. “The whole play feels like it is taken from a Loony Tones episode. I encourage students to take a break from academia and enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of laughter.”
“The Servant of Two Masters” will be held April 13-15 at 8 p.m. in Judd Theater. Tickets are available for purchase here.