FloArts students present The Actors’ Project: “The Servant of Two Masters,” a comic masterpiece
Florida School of the Arts (FloArts) students have tapped into their acting creativity, as FloArts students do, and come up with their version of “The Servant of Two Masters," originally written by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni in 1746 and revised in 1753. Set in Venice Italy, this comic masterpiece will be coming to FloArts’ Studio Theatre located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College on Thursday, March 14 and Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, March 16 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. The performance is free. Seats are limited but can be reserved by calling FloArts at (386) 312-4300.
About this enduring story of love, passion and mistaken identity, Director Kevin Kelly explained that large sections of Goldoni’s earliest drafts of “The Servant of Two Masters” were reserved for improvisation. American playwright Constance Congden adapted the script from an earlier English translation, which is the version the FloArts cast is working from.
“We here at FloArts dropped some stuff, added others, and made our own strange, hopefully beautiful, soup,” said Kelly. “It’s like a long game of 'Telephone,' of which we hope Signore Goldoni and his compatriots would approve.”
In this simple story, the hero, an always-hungry servant named Truffaldino, comes up with the idea to serve two masters – and eat twice as much. But, to pull it off, he has to keep each master from learning about the other. “It’s silly, silly fun, which is serious business,” said Kelly, who is assisted by student Assistant Director Emma Gazdecki.
“So much of what we know of comedy and farce comes from the Commedia Dell'Arte tradition that ‘The Servant of Two Masters’ sprang from,” Kelly explained. “From the Marx Brothers to Lucille Ball to Monty Python… So it's been great to give the students an opportunity to explore this rich and demanding theatrical form.”
Considering the street nature of commedia dell'arte, the FloArts’ staging won’t be realistic. “Our production, though with lights, costumes and live music, tries to have the high-energy style that street performance, with its need to compete with the cacophony of life on the street, requires,” said Kelly, who is also working closely with student Brandy Ramos, stage manager.
The cast includes Jahleel Christian, Dana Cox, Parker Devereaux, Fermín Llosa, Marcella Marques, Loudise Ortiz-Hernandez, Noah Peacock, Nicholas Ramsey, Melanie Rodriguez, Kirsten Rude, Hayley Smith, Collin Wallman and Vincent Ward.
The production team includes Stage Manager Brandy Ramos; Costume Shop Manager and Assistant Costume Designer Tiffany Jordan; Scene Shop Manager Chandler Caroccio; Stitchers: Danielle Brownfield and Marissa Mendez; Dressers: Madeline Gamel and Emily Poehlman; Costume Construction Crew: Julie Barnes, Devereaux, Gamel, Gazdecki, Nathaniel Heustis, Poehlman, Rude and Wallman; Understudies: Neal Baker, Anastasia Costas, Cox, Emely Cuestas, Danielle DuBois, Allyson Futch, Rebekah Herskovitz, Dante Jones Soto, Ashley Leake, Ramsey and Samuel Williams.
Florida School of the Arts, which serves the entire state of Florida, is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards associate degrees. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit online at floarts.org.
Photo caption: Florida School of the Arts students Hayley Smith and Vincent Ward rehearse a scene from the comedy “The Servant of Two Masters."
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