By Madeline Kimberly
Hunger — the constant hunger to eat or drink, even the hunger to be loved is undoubtedly present in most of us.
Hunger is one of the main themes present in the play, “The Servant of Two Masters.” Throughout the play, we are reminded that hunger doesn’t just exist when it comes to food.
The story of “The Servant of Two Masters” is basically described in its title; it tells the story of a servant named Truffaldino, who serves two masters.
“The Servant of Two Masters” is a classical comedy written by Carlo Goldoni in 1746. According to Duygu Monson, a faculty member who is directing SCC’s production, he was an Italian playwright who “transferred unwritten folk comedy plays to literary masterpieces and became one of the keystones in the foundation of enlightenment theater.”
In 1746 Italy, a play’s main purpose was not merely to amuse the audience; the story also had to satisfy the actors and actresses. Antonio Sacco, the actor who first played the lead role of Truffaldino, was the one who requested this play be written by Goldoni.
Monson describes Truffaldino as “the comedic catalyst of events, with his slapstick clumsiness and improvised lies.”
Truffaldino is a comical character, a “trickster” who gets in way over his head, and the plot follows him trying not to screw up. Throughout the story, he is constantly hungry and, at most points, he’s stuffing himself.
Truffaldino serves Beatrice and Florindo. Beatrice spends most of her time in the story disguised as her dead brother, Federico. Florindo is her estranged lover. Neither knows that their servant also serves the other. Florindo and Beatrice became estranged when Federico was killed trying to defend his sister’s honor from Florindo.
Truffaldino serves both of them because of his continuous hunger for food; he thinks that two masters equals double the food.
Beatrice pretends to be her brother, Federico, to obtain the dowry of the girl her brother was supposed to marry before he died.
And the drama doesn’t end there. The girl, Clarice, has actually fallen in love and gotten engaged to another man because she heard that Federico was dead.
Pantalone, Clarice’s father, owns the dowry Beatrice seeks, and has a servant, Smeraldina, who becomes Truffaldino’s love interest.
Of course, there’s always the clichéd misunderstanding between the lovers. In this case, Beatrice and Florindo start contemplating suicide; a predicament typical of the cliché. But not to worry, their fate is not as bleak as that of Romeo and Juliet.
Talk about a complex romance.
Though it is a comedy, this play does hint at the difference in social status between the servants and the masters, actually mocking it at times; the main joke is actually that a mere servant, Truffaldino, can fool both his masters.
In the end, the story hints that Truffaldino’s constant hunger for food has actually been his hunger for love, which came in the form of Smeraldina.
Debra Pralle, a faculty member, comments that the play is “performed in the traditional style of commedia dell'arte. Expect all the usual suspects to thwart his goal — wily menials, venial old men, frustrated young lovers, cross-dressing, mistaken identities, props with almost magical power, purloined letters, physical humor and lots of wordplay.”
Come and audition; everyone can join. You just need to prepare a one to three minute monologue.
This play is seeking “witty, energetic and creative” actors.
Monson claims, “Actors will benefit greatly from learning this specific form of this comedic performance style and it is a great opportunity for actors to expand and build their acting repertoire.”
Auditions are to be held this month, 12:30-3 p.m. on Feb. 8-9 in Building 1600, the school’s theater building.
The callbacks will be on the Feb. 10.
For further information, head to www.shoreline.edu and head to news, then events and then click on theatre. This is also where you can sign up for an audition slot.