Over the weekend, Southern Virginia’s theatre program opened its doors to the public for an entertaining night full of mistaken identities and raucous laughter. I attended Saturday’s performance of “The Servant of Two Masters” and walked out of Chandler Hall with a newfound appreciation for Italian renaissance humor and a stitch in my side.
As the lights dimmed and the first act began, the audience was welcomed with an energetic musical number from the entire cast, which set the tone for the rest of the night and explained some of the elements of the show. For example, the actors follow a set storyline and script, but also improvise and add scattered modern-day pop culture references throughout the production. With this introduction, audience members began to understand a little more what the night had in store for them. Then, the craziness began.
The show centers around Truffaldino, a servant with an insatiable appetite, who hires himself out to two different masters in hopes of scoring more food. Unfortunately for him, however, the two masters have a backstory of their own. Truffaldino’s actions catalyze a series of misunderstandings and mishaps that result in a side-splitting storyline. Sword fights, young love, broken marital contracts and disguised identities: all of these things play a role in the night’s antics.
And good heavens! Don’t sit on the sides or front rows if you have a deathly fear of contributing to the show! Along with smoothly blending slapstick humor and clever one liners, the actors heavily incorporate audience participation. Have no fear, though! The results are absolutely hilarious — I nearly choked on my Swedish Fish a few times.
This Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Chandler Hall’s doors will open once again to the public. I’ll even see you there — I loved it so much, I’m dragging my husband to the show so he too can laugh at the lightsaber fight scene.
Whoops. I said too much.
Ciao, mi amici! Vi vederò questo fine settimana!
(Post by Erin Seage ‘16. Photos by Lindsey Morgan ‘13.)