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Gerald Carpenter: Westmont Theatre to Open Season with Venetian Classic

The Servant of Two Masters runs through Oct. 30 in Porter Theater

Westmont College’s Theatre Arts Department will open its 2010-11 season with a production of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters (Arlecchino servitore di due padroni) of 1753, adapted by Constance Congdon, directed by Mitchell Thomas and starring a large cast of talented students.

Goldoni (1707-93) was a Venetian — later claimed by all of Italy — playwright who revolutionized Italian drama, producing intricate, fully composed plays in contrast to the reigning style of commedia dell’arte that called for extensive improvisation by a set of stock characters.

Goldoni was a disciple of the French master Moliere, and his plays — comedies, dramas, tragedies — dealt with the newly self-aware Italian middle class. He wrote more than 150 plays, in Italian or French, and they remain some of the most popular pieces on the Italian stage today — although, except for The Servant of Two Masters, they don’t get around much, outside of Europe.

Servant is a hilarious, hopelessly complicated tale of a woman disguised as her brother, in town to avenge his murder — he was killed by her lover — and of the eponymous servant Truffaldino, who spends his time stuffing his face and scheming to get more food. The plot is a Mobius strip: Try to follow it too closely and you’ll go mad.

The Servant of Two Masters will play at 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22-23, and Oct. 28 and 30 in Porter Theater on the Westmont campus.

For tickets and information, call 805.565.7140.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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