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  Play Details

The Servant Of Two Masters

Lansburgh Theatre
450 7th Street NW Washington

The Servant of Two Masters centers on the wily servant Truffaldino, played by Steven Epp, who devises a zany scheme to double his wages by serving two masters at once. Mayhem erupts when identities are mistaken, engagements are broken and lovers are reunited in this commedia dellarte masterpiece. "The Servant of Two Masters offers so many opportunities for music, for playfulness, for tragic abandon. It has everything in it. It has poetry and even this knocked-out farcical element in it that allows for great physical play, says director Christopher Bayes.

Presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company

Thru - Jul 8, 2012



Price: $39-$95

Show Type: Comedy

Running Time: 2 hours 15 mins with 1 intermission

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  Review Round-Up

DCTheatreScene - Highly Recommended

Under the incredibly deft direction of Christopher Bayes, this cast leaps over every pitfall often suffered by performers of commedia dellarte, the 16th century Italian theatre tradition that became the bedrock for modern sketch comedy. In commedia, actors play to type the miserly old man, say, or the nimble witty jester. Add a tradition of masks on top of the tomfoolery, and its all too easy to play it broad for the nyuk-nyuks.
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Hunter Styles


Baltimore Sun - Highly Recommended

"...I can't guarantee that you won't quickly resume your worries after attending "The Servant of Two Masters" at the Lansburgh Theatre or "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at Sidney Harman Hall, but I defy you to remember any cares and woes while spending a few hours with the company's scintillant productions of these comic gems."
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Tim Smith


Examiner - Highly Recommended

"...The extraordinary production of Servant by Christopher Bayes at the Shakespeare Theatre is a fresher-upper for that august institution in Washington. It is full of stylized acting, the great dance of real commedia performances. It mixes this so-called classic text with perfect modern references which was the spirit of Commedia when it was played in town plazas fast and perfect physical timing, extreme dynamics, from yelling and sung lines to whispers which are, absurdly, barely audible to the audience. It has mock opera, popular dances, rap performances (in mask and renaissance costume)."
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Joe Martin


MetroWeekly - Recommended

"...At one point in the middle of the complicated hijinks of the Shakespeare Theatre Company's The Servant of Two Masters, Truffaldino, the servant in question, turns to the audience and asks: Surely, after a season of Shakespeare and a Eugene O'Neill festival, we can keep up? Silly, irreverent but keenly on point, it was a moment of commedia dell'arte as it was meant to be: theater playing to its audience like a mischievous child."
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Kate Wingfield


WeLoveDC - Highly Recommended

"...By the end of The Servant of Two Masters, most everyone is exhausted. The cast runs out for the curtain call with a large sigh while beads of sweat shine off their faces; but its the good kind of tired. For a few hours, nothing else matters but the wondrous distraction on stage. Sure your abs hurt and the jokes, which entranced you moments before, have already been lost in a sea of memories and other concerns; but for that short time in the Lansburgh Theatre, you get to join in the chaos and be reminded that love, as in life, is best when unpredictable."
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Joanna


Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...The Servant of Two Masters demonstrates that, despite its long pedigree and foreign name, commedia dell'arte remains accessible and, in fact, forms the basis of many modern types of entertainment, from clowning to improvisational theater. (Another recent adaptation of Goldoni's play, One Man, Two Guvnors, is a Broadway hit following its success in London.)"
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Susan Berlin


City Paper - Recommended

"... To an English speaker a few centuries later, the Italian phrase commedia dellarte sounds alarmingly ostentatious, even after you realize the form is about as highfalutin and inaccessible as a Zucker Brothers movie or a Looney Tune. This school of masked, highly improvisational comic theater typically involves a character of low standing who finds himself in a position to influence the fate of his betters. The formula is loose enough to accommodate whatever jokes, songs, impressions, dance steps, or slapstick routines performers feel like shoehorning into it."
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Chris Klimek


Washingtonian - Highly Recommended

"...It's all happening at the Lansburgh Theatre, and "all" is no exaggeration in this case. The Servant of Two Masters, presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company through June 24, has everything--high hilarity, low comedy, breakneck slapstick, fine singing, a bit of dancing, and a dash of fish juggling, as well as asides that sporadically yank this mid-18th-century farce into present-day Washington."
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Jane Horwitz


DC Metro Theater Arts - Highly Recommended

"... Director Christopher Bayes crafts comic genius on the stage. The text of the play lends itself to a farcical physicality that Bayes then stretches out to a point of pure insanity making every moment a laugh factor. The ad-libbing and modern and pop cultural references that weave their way into the original work make this show a phenomenal masterpiece of epic uproarious proportions. Bayes ensures that the various characters, Truffaldino in particular,not only breakthefourth wall but smash through it with several wrecking balls and dynamite explosives sure to leave the audience in stitches. Hisexecution of slapstick comedy and over-dramatization are the perfect vesselsto carry thiswhacky show to itsriotousclimax."

Amanda Gunther


BrightestYoungThings - Somewhat Recommended

"...The Shakespeare Theatres production of The Servant of Two Masters has more in common with Second City than it does with classic Italian comedy. Like the Chicago-based sketch comedy troupe, the Shakespeare production employs the tried-and-true joke saturation method: the actors and production team energetically hurl as many gags as they can, hoping the majority of them will stick. The breadth of jokes is impressive. There are references to sex, politics, famous playwrights, 90s hip-hop, and Whitney Houston. When a cast member nails a zinger, the ensuing laughter is uproarious. Unfortunately, what happens in between those winning moments can be grating past the point of tolerance."
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Alan Zilberman


ShowBizRadio - Highly Recommended

"...The T-shirt they sell at the Lansburgh Theatre shop for this show says Everything is Confused, Everything is Magical. That about sums it up. The Shakespeare Theaters production of The Servant of Two Masters, a commedia dellarte piece originally written by 18th-century Italian playwright Carlo Goldini and adapted by Constance Congdon, is the most outrageously over-the-top, nonstop, roll-in-the-aisles funny thing to hit this town in recent memory."
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Bob Ashby


Woman Around Town - Recommended

"...Subtlety is not the point of commdia dellarte, nor for that matter is in depth characterization or plotting. The point here is to deliver a couple of hours of easy laughs for the whole family, (this is a good show for children or school groups) and the show delivers with its mixture of classic commedia tropes and sly modern references, including a few jabs at D.C. You cant call it deep, but you can call it entertaining."
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Winnefred Ann Frolik



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