The Avalon and Brookwood Actors Guild present Servant of Two Masters opening this Friday and running through Sunday February 10.
All shows take place at Kensington’s St. Paul’s Methodist Church and costs five dollars for a ticket.
A Servant of Two Masters is a classic comedy originally written by experienced playwright Carlo Goldoni and dates back to 1743. It’s about a servant who discreetly tries to serve two lieges without either finding out. The two masters also happen to be in love.
In Goldoni’s plot, the story follows many different characters as they explore the tricky and confusing road of love in Venice. The story begins with the engagement of Dr. Lombardi’s son Silvio and Signor Pantalone’s daughter, Clarice. Clarice was engaged to Federigo a fellow from Turin who was slain by his sister’s lover Florindo over the fact that he wanted to marry her, but Federigo thought otherwise. The wedding however, is suddenly interrupted by Beatrice disguised as Federigo so that she can get money owed to her brother by Pantalone to find her lost love Florindo, who at the same time is looking for her. Trufledino the servant of Beatrice is also serving Florindo behind her back.
The Avalon and Brookwood Actors Guild has a history of making minor alterations to their scripts, and A Servant of Two Masters is no different. The script faced major revision by directors and faculty members. The subplot now features a romance between Smeraldina and Wei Wei the Waiter. The directing team also completely rewrote the ending to take a happier turn rather that concluding with Truffaldino‘s surprising death.
“We took that construct and stretched it out a little further,” said former Avalon teacher and current play director Dan Corey. “What I am quite proud of doing with our version is taking a scene previously done off stage and making it the center stage. It’s akin to making Oedipus gouge his own eyeballs out onstage. It’s great.”
Corey, who acts professionally in local theater, began his acting career doing commercials as an elementary school student, and he continued doing plays in high school. After high school, he worked at a community theater in Crawfordsville, Ind., and even starred in a few plays in college.
“After a couple of years of teaching at Avalon, I decided to get back into theater, working in community theater first, then working my way up to non-equity professional theater in the DC metro area,” said Corey. “In a couple of months, I will be working on my first play where everyone will be an equity actor except me – I like to think it means I’m moving up in the world!”
Elizabeth McCarthy, a Brookwood School senior, plays the lead roll of Truffaldino, the servant working for two masters. McCarthy outshines the entire cast with her performance, despite an extended leave of absence just before the play for tryouts at Juilliard.
The character of Truffaldino is a man, but McCarthy has done a superb job of acting the roll. She performs in a style that should remind audience members of famed actor Jonny Depp.
For the part, McCarthy wears an asymmetrical jacket covered in patches, with mismatched gloves, and she dances about the stage. Liz interacts with the audience a great deal, climbing over chairs and through the aisles and delivering her lines directly to specific people in the audience. Truffaldino is an eccentric onlooker to the unfolding of the play, half involved in everything that happens in the play. Truffaldino is present for most scenes of the play, bringing laughter to the experience.
Josh Solomon brings a certain baroque masculinity to the role of Florindo, Beatrice’s love interest. Solomon adds excitement with skilled swordsmanship in the action scenes.
Standout performances from Brookwood’s Mary Davern (Clarice) and Martha Rivas (Beatrice) are clever, daring and sweet. Matt Agrafiotis plays Silvio, the son of Dr. Lombardi, to a tee with his foolish antics. The audience will also enjoy Billy Kantor as Pantalone, a Venetian merchant, and Zach Jensen as Dr. Lombardi.
Mary Sorensen plays Brighella, an inn keeper looking for respect, and the Petruccelli’s, Chiara and Teresa, play Clarice’s strong-willed maid.
The cast and crew include the following:
Elizabeth McCarthy as Truffaldino (The Servant)
Joshua Solomon as Florindo
Martha Rivas as Beatrice
Matt Agrafiotis as Silvio
Mary Davern as Clarice
Billy Kantor as Pantalone
Zack Jensen as Dr. Lombardi
Mary Sorensen as Brighella
Chiara and Teresa Petruccelli as Smeraldina (Another Servant)
Morgan Kurtz – Director,
David Solomon – Stage Manager,
Thomas Bonatti – Assistant Tech Director