Send in the clowns

Send in the clowns

Yaamini Venkataraman

Fall production "The Servant of Two Masters" features relatable pop-culture references and commedia dell’arte

Fifteen commedia dell’arte clown characters causing mayhem and a Venetian dinner consisting of Chipotle and In-N-Out: welcome to the Drama Department. 

"The Servant of Two Masters", the Drama Department's fall production, is playing Nov. 6-7, 13-14 in the MVHS Auditorium. Tickets can be bought from any cast or crew member or at Photo by Yaamini Venkataraman."The Servant of Two Masters", written by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni, is a comedy featuring Beatrice Rasponi (junior Stella Ziegler) who dresses up as her dead brother in order to get money and find her lover, Florendo Aretusi (senior Jarryd Alfaro). Along the way, Truffaldino (junior Ab Menon), becomes the servant of both Rasponi and Aretusi, his lies and love for food get him into trouble along the way.

From the very beginning, it was apparent that the night would be filled with slapstick humor, with clown characters walking through the auditorium and interacting with the audience. Even the house manager’s speech  had humor injected into it, with several actors bursting onstage complaining of lethargy, heartbreak and APUSH. When the play began, clowns were scattered all over the brightly colored set and people were cursing each other with funny lines such as "H1N1 on you". When Rasponi and Aretusi finally find each other, they start singing "Don’t Stop Believin’" by the Glee cast, with the clowns singing and dancing along.

The set was captured the atmosphere of Venice with an old Italian village complete with creeper vines and cobblestone streets. The set also included a working gondola, furthering the Venetian theme. Costumes were brightly colored and of Renaissance style. The lighting reflected of of the costumes’ sheer color and made the stage vibrant; however, the colorful palate of the costumes did not outshine the actors’ performances. Alfaro portrayed his character with lots of over-dramatization, and subtle eyebrow movements that gave the audience a perfect interpretation of his somewhat conceited character, and Menon’s portrayal of Truffaldino makes the audience laugh at the lovable fool.

It’s apparent that "Servant" is not just any play. Unlike any plays by good ol’ Shakespeare, it has a more casual feeling, and is filled to the brim with attitude. With a marvelously enacted plot and modern day humor woven into the old-world commedia dell’arte characters, "The Servant of Two Masters", is a play that will keep you on your toes and maybe shaking your hips a little to Beyonce’s "Single Ladies" on your way out.