Farce closes Actors' Theatre's summer season at Schiller Park
Actors' Theatre cast members (from left) Tom Patton, Jack Dwyer, Allison Brogan and Ted Amore rehearse a scene from Servant of Two Masters at Schiller Park. Buy This Photo
Actors' Theatre of Columbus will close out the summer season with a performance of Servant of Two Masters, an Italian comedy.
The play, written in 1743 by Carlo Goldini, continues its four-night-a-week run in Schiller Park, at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays until Sept. 2.
The play starts out with the introduction of Beatrice, who enters Venice disguised as her brother in a plot to avenge his death. Her servant, Truffaldino, known for his a voracious appetite, stumbles upon another job opportunity with Beatrice's lover, Florindo, who's accused of killing Beatrice's brother. All the while, Truffaldino tries to keep his moonlighting a secret.
Throughout the play, his conniving ways are almost uncovered, bringing about hilarious situations.
"All these complications arise from a simple premise," said John S. Kuhn, artistic director of the German Village-based troupe. "It's just goofy fun set in the Italian Renaissance."
Last year, Actors' Theatre ended the season with Oedipus Rex, the Greek tragedy written by Sophocles.
"I thought ending with a comedy would be a little more celebratory this year," Kuhn said.
It is Pamela Hill's second directorial effort with Actors' Theatre and her first time directing comedia, the most popular style of theater between 1550 and 1750. Hill said it influenced nearly all of early American television and radio, including Laurel and Hardy, W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.
She said the slapstick and colorful manner of the genre are appealing to all ages.
"Plus, I was lucky enough to get very talented actors," she said. "Comedia actors all had incredible skills. And we have people in the cast who do magic, juggle, dance and sing, and all of that is involved in comedia. It's all incorporated in the show."
During interludes, actors continue to show off their talents, Hill said.
"This is very interactive," she said. "At points in the show, audience members are recruited to help."
The troupe has endured yet another steamy summer and the occasional strong thunderstorm. Yet, the final show of The Merchant of Venice drew 525 people, Kuhn said.
"When the weather was nice, we had good houses but, yeah, the weather was challenging," he said.