Loosen up your tie and let your hair down a bit. Seattle Repertory Theatre's season opener takes a 250 year old script and gives it fresh life in the hilarious comedy “A Servant of Two Masters”.
Originally written by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni in the style of cemmedia dell'arte, or traveling comedic theater, director Chris Bayes gives us a hearty retelling while allowing for some very timely improvisation.
The story tells us of a very hungry servant named Truffaldino, who is expressively played by Steven Epp – more on him later. All Truffaldino wants is a good meal, but he winds up getting pulled into a complicated romantic dispute involving his two masters Federigo (played by Liz Wisan – no, not a typo!) and the flamboyant Florindo (Jesse J. Perez), as well as two prominent Venice families led by bow-legged Signore Pantalone (Allen Gilmore) and his portly rival Il Dottore (Allen Galli).
With every attempt to get a little something for himself, Truffaldino just makes his situation that much worse until his dual loyalties are finally exposed.
Within this framework lies countless slapstick moments, off-color jokes, and innuendos, which are truly the heart of this performance. Every character is played with just the right level of over the top, from Gilmore's wobbly legs and high-pitched yelps to Perez's disturbingly entrancing erotic spasms and Liam Craig's innkeeper Brighella, whose meal-planning will leave you hungry and howling. Even the show's only two musicians, who are right on the stage instead of a pit, are characters in their own right.
But the true shining star is easily Epp, as he spends nearly the whole show on stage at a staggeringly high level of intensity. His body language conveys far more than his masked face could, and his timing is impeccable. Even when a joke or gag didn't go quite as he planned, he recovered with such quickness that even his castmates had to crack an out-of-character grin.
As the traveling troupes of old would do, the actors are given leeway to insert their own lines based off of current and local events. So you might hear lampooning of standing politicians, a government shutdown reference, or a running Microsoft gag. There's even a few jabs at local Seattle icons and locales, and even some local music references.
Every character will be your favorite, every joke the funniest, and every scene your most memorable. You have until October 20th to see this delightful comedy at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Be warned, some lines are just shy of explicit and choice language is used, so bringing children would not be advisable.