“The Servant of Two Masters” opens this weekend, the third play of the Crossroads Repertory Theatre summer season at Indiana State University.
Performances are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as July 18, 24 and 27, all at 7:30 p.m. except for the Sunday matinee at 4 p.m.
Crossroads Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Arthur Feinsod is directing the play, written by Carlo Goldoni and adapted by Constance Congdon from a translation by Christina Sibul.
“Servant” is the most popular work ever written in the Commedia dell’arte tradition, featuring a highly physical acting style which can be described as farce. As is traditional in this form, the masters and servants are masked, while the lovers and female servants are not.
The term “slapstick” comedy derives from this kind of play where one of the characters, Truffaldino (Brandon Wentz) in this play, carries a slapstick to beat others with but which is usually used against him. Commedia was a great influence on slapstick masters of more modern times such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, the great mime Marcel Marceau, Lucille Ball and even Kramer from Seinfeld.
In the play, Beatrice (Carolyn Conover) travels to Venice looking for her beloved Florindo (Graham Emmons). She is disguised as a man; in fact, she is pretending to be her own dead brother, Federigo Rasponi. The sudden appearance of the dead brother, who had been promised to Pantalone’s daughter, the young and beautiful Clarice (Charles Adams and Ashley Wolfe), derails the planned engagement between Clarice and Silvio (Sam Fain), the pedantic doctor, Il Dottore (Chuck Shutt).
Unbeknownst to each other, lovers Beatrice and Florindo stay at the same inn, owned by Brighella (Eddie Urish), and end up employing the same servant, the wily and foolish Truffaldino, who is constantly hungry and decides he’ll simultaneously serve two masters so he can be paid for two and eat for two.
The situation becomes funnier as fathers attempt to manipulate love and, due to mistaken identities and backfiring schemes, create a hopeless knot that only time and luck eventually untie. Goldoni’s play, full of physical comedy, includes masked masters, disguised lovers, mistaken identities, mixed-up trunks and letters, a singing gondolier (Samantha Hayes), as well as conflicting simultaneous dinners, served by the head waiter (Brian Kogut) and waiters (Caleb Clark and Rashad Ellis).
The characters of the play all come from the original Commedia dell’arte, which started in northern Italy in about 1550 as an improvised form of acting. The art form had spread throughout Europe by 1650. Actors would take on one of the stock characters like Harlequin and Pantalone to play their whole lives. By about 1750, the genre began to lose popularity until it was given new life when Carlo Goldoni scripted storylines that previously had only been improvised.
While the antics of this comedy leave the audience in stitches, there is also a more serious lesson of deciding what to serve: truth, honesty and integrity on the one hand or money and one’s stomach on the other. In the end, love — and the soul — conquer all, even for Truffaldino who, in the end, confesses his wily plan to serve two masters so that he can marry Clarice’s servant, Smeraldina (Ariana Cohen), the one voice of wisdom throughout the play.
After Sunday’s matinee, audiences are invited to stay for a free “Sunday Talk.” Feinsod and Wentz will present a lecture/demonstration on the art of mask making.
Season tickets for all four shows of the Three Laughs and a Scream summer season are available for $52. A ticket to “The Servant of Two Masters” costs $15. Indiana State University students get one free ticket per show with student ID, while ISU faculty and staff can get theirs at a reduced price.
Tickets can be reserved at www.crossroadsrep.com or at the box office located inside the New Theater, 540 N. Seventh St. For additional information, call 812-237-3333.
“The Servant of Two Masters” opens this weekend, the third play of the Crossroads Repertory Theatre summer season at Indiana State University.
Author visits birthplace of Calvin Coolidge
Editor’s Note: Today, in this seventh and final installment of Mike Lunsford’s “New England Journal,” the writer visits a small town in south central Vermont, birthplace of the nation’s 30th President, Calvin Coolidge. Be sure to look for Mike’s regular column in Monday’s edition of the Tribune-Star.
GRAPE SENSE: Unoaked Chard the perfect complement to a dish like Chicken Lyon
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TRIED ’N’ TRUE: A recipe for a family who loves onions
In our family, we love onions. My sister, Pam, sent me this recipe.
When Gene and I were first married I made everything with onions (his mother didn’t flavor her meals). They were good old country meals — meat, potatoes, gravy and desserts.
Guiding Star: Inspired by family, Terre Haute native rallies famous names to fund cancer research
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Making Waves: Woman devotes part of rural Vigo County home to museum on hairstyling
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As the stage lights came on, Sam Wellington and his cohorts gazed out at an audience of 8,060 Midwesterners.
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Wearing a Legacy: Inspired by Debs, a variety of places and things beyond Terre Haute — from a town to beers — bear his name
A town and a school. Two styles of beer. A radio station, a street, a township, and a house for college students. Even a parade.
Any of those places or things named in honor of legendary labor and social activist Eugene V. Debs could theoretically exist in Terre Haute. Alas, none do.
Flowing forward: As Riverscape leader retires, he sees great things ahead for the Wabash River
An iconic photo of Harry Truman hangs in John Mutchner’s office.
The walls of that room and others inside Mutchner’s scenic eastside home offer glimpses of his interests, from auto racing to basketball to political history. The famous picture of a triumphant Truman, hoisting an erroneous “Dewey Defeats Truman” Chicago Tribune headline, rests neatly framed alongside a 1952 campaign button and an autographed notecard from the former president.
Hope Awakened: On a floating hospital, Terre Haute nurse sees lives of needy transformed
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She had young children and, for a long time, a heavy burden. A tumor, large as her head, engulfed her jaw. Eating and breathing became all but impossible for her. Undoubtedly, she’d been ostracized because of it, too. Such cases are rare in the Western world, but they occur frequently in the Republic of Congo. The coastal African nation has just one doctor for every 20,000 people.
Rock Collector: Indiana Coal Council president loves rocks, fossils and 4-H
You might say Bruce Stevens grew up with lots of pet rocks.
Scavenging for rocks and fossils as a boy near his home at Coalmont launched Stevens’ fascination with geology. His love of all things sedimentary led him to a successful career in hydrology, reclamation and the coal industry.
‘Afternoon on a Hill’: The formal poet who led an informal life — Edna St. Vincent Millay
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of an afternoon exploring the rural gardens and home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay near Austerlitz, N.Y. Join Lunsford in February for the sixth installment of this series as he wanders along the wooded shorelines of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.
No Intermission: Character meets demise on ‘Walking Dead,’ but lively acting career continues for Terre Haute’s Jose Pablo Cantillo
Characters often make dramatic exits from television shows.
Few could top Terre Haute-raised actor Jose Pablo Cantillo’s departure last month from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
The scene occurred in the fourth season of cable TV’s most popular drama series ever.
Telling stories in song
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Real people lived through those times, but as generations pass, memories of those characters fade and disappear.
Effort under way to restore Civil War monument to original grandeur; ‘Soldier of the West’ unique in state of Indiana
“How sleep the brave, who sink to rest with all their country’s wishes blest.”
A lone soldier sits atop Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle. He is seated with his foot on a cannon of long ago, looking westward, perhaps toward the future he fought for. “He” is a stone memorial, rising nearly 30 feet in the historic cemetery. He represents all the men, young and old, from Putnam County who fought and died in the Civil War, and he is aptly titled “Soldier of the West.”
Walk of a Lifetime: Writer discovers views fit for a painting while walking the cliffs of Prout’s Neck, home to famous artist Winslow Homer’s seaside studio
Editor’s Note: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of a day walking the Maine seacoast in search of the great artist, Winslow Homer. Join Mike in January for the fifth installment of this series as he visits Edna St. Vincent Millay’s rural New York farm, Steepletop.
Heightened Sense of Place: Educators’ efforts helped put geography back on map in schools
Geography transcends dots on a map.
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Fade to Black: A few local theaters among last to part with century-old 35-mm film
The projectionist behind the first movie shown in the Indiana Theatre nearly 92 years ago would likely feel right at home in that same booth today.
HEALING WATERS: Team River Runner offers inspiration, opens doors for wounded veterans
Some people say the fun of boating on the Wabash is dealing with unexpected challenges such a big body of water can present on certain days; others delight in the wild beauty at Terre Haute’s doorstep, from bald eagles soaring above trees lining the banks of the Wabash to the panorama of the river itself as it curls through woodland in many places reminiscent of primeval splendor seen hundreds of years ago.
The night it rained tears
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Community Theatre to bring Tony Award-winning play to stage
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New Leo Baxter Orchestra to entertain at Big Read Party
A Terre Haute tradition will be reborn when the New Leo Baxter Society Orchestra performs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Indiana Theatre as part of the Big Party for the Wabash Valley Big Read.
With new Americana album, Chicago artist to play Verve
For years, Kevin Presbrey toured the country as the front man of Painkiller Hotel, a modern rock group inspired by guitar-fueled bands like Pearl Jam and Live. Now, he’s dialing back the clock with his solo debut, an Americana album that takes its cues from Jim Croce’s folk music, the Eagles’ country-tinged rock and Fleetwood Mac’s 1970s pop.
Country singer/songwriter from Illinois to perform at The Verve
Up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Troy Stone of Paris, Ill., will perform from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. March 14 in The Verve at 677 Wabash Ave.
Gallery presents ‘Halcyon Days’ exhibit
Halcyon Art Gallery is presenting the regional juried exhibition, “Halcyon Days 2014,” on view from Friday until March 28. The opening reception will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday. This is the ninth in a series of juried exhibitions showcasing the best of contemporary art in all media.
See dinosaurs, Dr. Seuss characters at Children's Museum
On Sunday, March 9, Terre Haute Children’s Museum guests will be in for a special treat. Prehistoric creatures from Erth’s “Dinosaur Zoo” will be roving the museum, and Dr. Seuss characters will come to life when the Children’s Theatre of Terre Haute presents “Seussical Jr.”
GRAPE SENSE: News from the world’s wine regions can affect future prices
News from the world’s wine regions can affect even the average wine drinker. There is a lot going on, particularly in California, which can affect future wine prices.
TRIED ’N’ TRUE: The easiest ham loaf I’ve ever made
I have been asked for a good ham loaf recipe. This is really good. It comes from a friend of mine in Morton, Ill. Eileen Knapp makes this for her kids and grandkids — we all enjoyed it.
Party New Orleans-style at Swope Mardi Gras celebration
The Swope Art Museum’s fifth annual Mardi Gras celebration is this weekend. Enjoy a visit to the Big Easy on the museum’s third floor from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday.
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