Seattle Rep’s ‘The Servant of Two Masters’

Carlo Goldoni’s comic play, “The Servant of Two Masters,” opens at the Seattle Repertory Theatre this Friday, Sept. 27. A veritable plethora of mistaken identities, double crossings and lovers lost or found, this timeless drama sings with side-splitting slapstick and comedic magic of the highest order.  Librarians at The Seattle Public Library created a list of books, plays, music and videos to augment your enjoyment of this event. Here are a few samples to whet your appetite. You can find the full list here.

image of Cezanne's "Harlequin" courtesy of AgnostiPreachersKid from Wikimedia CommonsThe Servant of Two Masters by David Turner                                   A hungry manservant bites off a little more than he can chew when he agrees to serve two different masters for double wages and double dinners. This comic romp is one of 18th-century Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni’s best-known works.



One Man Two Guvnors book jacket from SPL catalogOne Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean                                    Bean’s 2011 adaptation of “The Servant of Two Masters” is set in 1960s Brighton, UK, where a befuddled Francis Henshall strives to keep his criminal bosses ignorant of the fact that he is employed by two different men. This British comedy opened on Broadway in 2012 and James Corden won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance as Henshall.


Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare                                                                                 Like “The Servant of Two Masters,” Shakespeare’s classic comedy features a cross-dressing heroine, convoluted marriage plots and servants who are up to absolutely no good.

Commedia Dell’ Arte: Story, Style (video)                                                                    Comedia Dell Arte book cover from SPL catalog          Goldoni was among the first Italian playwrights to deviate from the commedia dell’arte tradition of improvisation by writing full scripts for his plays. Yet his comedies remain deeply indebted to this art form in their creative re-use of its stock characters, themes and scenarios. This 75-minute streaming video explores the history and development of the commedia dell’arte tradition in Italy and beyond.

Enjoy the show!

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