A masked servant, a dead man, and a couple of comically crossed lovers are just a few of the characters scheduled to pop up in Seattle soon, when the Seattle Repertory Theatre stages the 18th century Italian comedy The Servant of Two Masters (Sept 27–Oct 20). The story follows Truffaldino, a buffoonish servant trying to juggle the duties of serving two masters without alerting either of them to his underhandedness. All the while around him, lovers, rivals, and cross-dressers converge in a plot full of misunderstandings. The play is in the commedia dell’arte style, characterized by some actors wearing masks and following specific archetypes, with music, improv, and a lot of physical playfulness.
Seeking to expand its collection of classics, Seattle Rep bought the rights to the show from the Yale Repertory Theatre, which last staged the play in 2009. While the play is new to the Rep, there’s no fear of unfamiliarity. Director Christopher Bayes, a teacher at the Yale School of Drama, has staged this show five times in theaters from Boston to D.C. Bayes compares the farcical play to The Simpsons, with an updated script full of references to pop culture, ranging from A Streetcar Named Desire or Justin Bieber, and room for improvisation on a nightly basis. “We are looking forward to bringing our beautiful and idiotic little show to Seattle,” says Bayes. “The audience can expect to have a really great and squirrely time.”
The Servant of Two Masters
Sept 27–Oct 20, Seattle Repertory Theatre,