The Servant of Two Masters is the kind of laugh-out-loud comedy performance that will leave audiences in stitches. With a lot of physical comedy and silly jokes, The Servant of Two Masters is about Truffaldino, a servant who comes up with the ultimate plan to make more money by serving two masters. “Truffaldino is a servant who is very naive in a particular way. He comes up with clever solutions to problems he created through his own innocence but in the end it all works out,” explains Steven Epp, who plays the cunning servant Truffaldino.
As Shakespeare Theatre’s first Carlo Goldoni play, The Servant of Two Masters will thoroughly entertain audiences with its own interpretation of commedia dell’arte, a 16th century stage technique that combines physical comedy, improvisation, and archetypal characters. Largely regarded as the primary playwright of the modern Italian stage, Goldoni infused the traditional elements of commedia dell’arte with more scripted plot devices and realistic characters that audiences could more readily identify with. “This production is a love letter to the period and to traditional commedia embracing theatricality of that world,” explains Epp. “So much of the communication and acting [in this play] is through the body. It’s like doing a marathon.”
Directed by Associate Professor and Head of Physical Acting at the Yale School of Drama, Christopher Bayes, The Servant of Two Masters has quirky music, gorgeous costumes, and eye-catching set design that pay homage to the Venetian style of Goldoni but with a mix of contemporary flourishes. “The designs are inspired [by] commedia and have a Venetian look but it has a contemporary influence infused into that,” says Epp. “There are two musicians playing on stage and there are little operas infused in the show but…with contemporary references.
“[This show] is about [the] joy and abandon of theater at its most raucous and entertaining. It is a hootn’ fun time.”
Tickets range from $39-$95. Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Shakespeare Theatre Company releases an allotment of $15 tickets to patrons ages 35 and younger. Tickets are usually limited to performances through the following Sunday and are available in person at the Box Office and via phone. There is a limit of four tickets per person. ID is always required to pick up Young Prose tickets.
The Servant of Two Masters runs May 15 through June 24 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Lansburgh Theatre: 450 7th St. NW, DC; 202-547-1122;
www.shakespearetheatre.org. A YPN will be held on June 6, check the site for more details.
Xanadu Closes Signature’s 22nd Season
In its final show of the season, Signature Theatre presents the 80s mega musical Xanadu. The Washington premiere of this totally rad musical comedy hit with multiple Tony Awards hits the stage on May 6. Inspired by the 1980 movie of the same name, Xanadu has been a popular musical since it first premiered on Broadway in 2007.
Directed and choreographed by Signature’s Associate Artistic Director, Matthew Gardiner, Xanadu is a fun musical that takes place in Venice, California where roller skates, neon hot pants, and spandex are the uniform of the locals. Erin Weaver, Charlie Brady, Sherri L. Edelen, Nova Y. Payton, and Harry A. Winter star in this comedy about Kira, one of seven quirky Greek muses who is sworn to inspire mortals, never reveal her identity, and never fall in love. Kira does, however, break her vows by encouraging handsome artist, Sonny, to produce the first roller disco. In this campy portrayal of 80s youth falling in love on roller skates, Xanadu is reminiscent of a bygone era that has inspired an entire generation.
Written by Doug Carter Beane, with music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, Xanadu has been widely popular as a fun romp through the 1980s roller skating culture of Southern California set to an impressive soundtrack.
Tickets start at $63. Student discount tickets are $30 and must be purchased the week of the performance. Signature is also offering “$22 for Tuesdays,” making available $22 tickets to the first two public Tuesday performances on May 8 and May 15.
Xanadu runs May 6 through July 1 at Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA; 703-573-7328;