More than 30 TASIS students and a half dozen faculty members compose the talented acting company and production team that will perform Carlo Goldoni's classic Italian comedy, The Servant of Two Masters, in the Palmer Center this fall. The show premieres on Thursday, November 17, at 19:30 and will also be performed on November 18 (19:30) and November 19 (19:00).
The two-month rehearsal and creative process began under the direction of High School Theater Director Valerie Bijur Carlson during the week of September 12, and audiences can expect a high-spirited romp of mistaken identities, lost loves, cross-dressing masters, and sly servants.
Arriving in Venice—unbeknownst to each other—are Beatrice, disguised as her late twin brother Federico, and Florindo, Beatrice’s beloved and Federico’s murderer. Servant Truffaldino gets himself into a pickle becoming servant to both of them at one time. The fact that they are both staying at Brighella’s inn and have identical trunks doesn't make the project any easier. But two salaries and six meals a day instead of three are a powerful draw for this little man who lusts after food, money, and the fair Smeraldina, lithesome maid servant to the lovely Clarice—who was betrothed to Federico before he died, although she is really in love with Silvio, to whom she became engaged on Federico’s death—only now it looks like he’s alive again! Clarice’s father Pantalone wants her to keep her word to Federico (not knowing that Federico is actually Beatrice in drag) while Silvio’s father Doctor Lombardi would prefer she keep her troth to his son. In the meantime, neither Beatrice nor Florindo knows that the other is in Venice, nor that Truffaldino is secretly servant to them both. And have we mentioned the comic mayhem that ensues with waiters at a restaurant, porters at the inn, and musicians who underscore the action with their voices and instruments? There may even be some dancing—and there will definitely be plenty of laughter!
The Company List
||Lorraine Garrett & Aida Loggiodice|
|Nora||Ms. Ann Haldy|
|La Nonna||Ms. Sara Soncina|
|The Porter||Mr. Thomas Joyce|
|Dr. Lombardi||John Tabor Gage|
|Silvio||Francis Accilien & Ivan Semashev|
The Street Performers
|Ballerina||Leticia (Angell) Albuquerque|
|Keyboard/Harpsichord||Ms. Samantha Forrest|
|Director & Production Manager
||Ms. Valerie Bijur Carlson|
||Ms. Samantha Forrest|
||Anna Alexey, Diana Kuznetsova, & Angelina Not|
|Costume Design & Wardrobe Crew
||Begum Haddat, Christelle Mezzadri, & Ms. Carlson|
|Make-up and Hair Design & Crew
||Mariya Kozhuhar, Georgia Mantegazza, & Nadia Tsoy|
||Alexey Dudov, Ed Lee, Dmitrii Skulkov, Mr. Thomas Joyce, & Ms. Carlson|
|Props Design & Fabrication
||Jessica Landa (with assistance from Drama 1 classes)|
||Lorraine Garrett, the Set Designers, Drama 1 classes, & Ms. Carlson|
|Scene Shop||Set Designers, Ivan Linnikov, Mr. Marco Casati, Moritz Mohr, Mr. Massimo de Lorenzi, Mr. Joyce, & Ms. Carlson|
|Lighting Design & Board Operators
||Madyson O’Connor, Fiona Perdomo, & Rebecca Wilson|
|House Management||Moritz Mohr & Weekend Dorm Parents|
|Running Crew||Adrian Bulz & Set/Props Designers|
|Electricians||Mr. Pietro Bassi, Mr. Todd Bearden, & Ms. Carlson|
|Sound Engineer||Mr. David Z Peters|
|"That's Amore" Choreography||Ms. Mara Bernasconi & Mr. Matthew Frazier-Smith|
|"That's Amore" Vocal Arrangement & Coaching||Georgia Mantegazza & Zak Rahman|
|Rehearsal Assistance & Coaching||Ms. Ann Haldy & Mr. Matthew Frazier-Smith|
|Program Editors||Ms. Carlson, Ms. Kristin Pedroja, & Mr. Jacopo Riva|
|Poster/Program Art||Mr. Martyn Dukes, Mr. Jacopo Riva, & Ms. Carlson|
|Photography||Paloma Lazzarino, Frida Larsson, Ms. Kim Nelson, & Rebecca Wilson|
Ms. Carlson has been involved in educational theater since her senior year in high school, when she led the “All the World’s a Stage” unit at the Girl Scout camp where she was a counselor. In the years between then and now, she has taught acting and theatrical design, directed plays and musicals with cast sizes ranging from 13 to 70, overseen all of the technical and design elements of numerous plays, and written theatrical adaptations of stories for children and teens. She has worked with nearly every age—from five-year-olds to adults—in classroom, extracurricular, and theater camp settings. In addition to her degrees in drama and English and her educational certifications, Ms. Carlson is a professional stage manager who counts the Washington National Opera, Arena Stage, the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, and events with the Obamas, the Clintons, and Morgan Freeman among her credits. She has been the High School Theater Director at TASIS since the fall of 2012.
Hailing from Venice, playwright and librettist Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni (1707–1793) produced some of Italy’s most-beloved plays. Written in the 1740s, The Servant of Two Masters is one of Goldoni’s best-known works and has been translated and adapted internationally many times. Always interested in theater and particularly influenced by Moliére (Goldoni learned French so he could read Moliére’s famous satires), Goldoni sought to reform and revitalize the then 200-year-old Italian commedia dell’arte tradition by retaining its stock characters, convoluted scenarios, and topics of love, money, and food—while at the same time increasing the status of playwrights by replacing the improvisational nature of commedia dell’arte with tightly structured, fully-scripted plays. He also eliminated the traditional use of masks in his plays, as he felt they dehumanized the characters. Although some of his contemporaries accused Goldoni of trying to “kill” commedia dell’arte and debase this quintessentially Italian art form, his plays were extremely popular—more so as the century went on. Today he is the most produced Italian playwright of his era—ironically, often by theater companies wanting to put on authentically costumed (masked!) and staged commedia dell’arte productions.