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Drama Club Serving Up Modern Take on Classic Comedy

January 26, 2017

Winter Play

Twists And Turns: The Rose-Hulman Drama Club’s winter play, “The Servant of Two Masters,” offers a whirlwind of plot twists from start to finish.

A farce would not be complete without mistaken identities, mixed up romances, swordfights and even some flying food. That’s what the Rose-Hulman Drama Club has planned for its winter play, “The Servant of Two Masters,”in the Hatfield Hall Theater.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27; Saturday, Jan. 28; Friday, Feb. 3; and Saturday, Feb. 4, along with a special matinee show Sunday, Jan. 29, at 1:30 p.m.

“From the get-go, I knew it was going to be a really strong show,” says Lauren Wiseman, a sophomore mathematics major who plays the titular servant Truffaldina. “Everyone in the cast is funny in their own way, whether it’s their deadpan delivery or physical comedy—there is not a weak link.”

Set in modern-day Venice Beach, Calif., this reimagined version of the classic 18th century comedy by Carlo Goldoni follows the attempts of lost loves trying to reconnect. These tales are intertwined with the mishaps of Truffaldina, a gluttonous servant who has devised a brilliant plan to snag some extra meals by “exclusively” serving two unsuspecting masters.

“The plot is a bit of a whirlwind, from start to finish,” Wiseman remarks. “My character, Truffaldina, is such an agent of chaos in disrupting the lives of everyone. But it turns out that is exactly what everyone needs. The show, to me, conveys the idea that life is too short to deprive yourself of love. There may be other things you need, like food or money, but ultimately, a person needs love in their life.”

Wiseman, from Robinson, Ill., has an extensive background in theater productions, having performed with Lincoln Trail College’s thespian group.

The masters in the play, Florindo and Beatrice, are not without their own trials, with one on the run after a deadly duel and another traveling in disguise to claim a dowry.

“Florindo seems to be a character who made a mistake that has sent him into a whirlwind of a journey. All he wants is to be reunited with his beloved, whom he misses dearly,” says senior Brian Suchy, who plays Florindo. The computer engineering major from Lake Zurich, Ill., performed in his first play in the sixth grade, and has been involved in 25 shows since, both acting on stage and working behind the scenes.

Though “The Servant of Two Masters”is centuries old, its content transcends the historical and cultural differences between the original writing and today, according to director Terence Hartnett, an assistant professor of English at Rose-Hulman.

“In adapting the play for this production, my goal was to preserve the humanity, energy, thematic content and comedy of the original, but translate it for a modern audience. The structure, plot and character types are for the most part intact,” he says.

Hartnett further explained that the Rose-Hulman Drama Club production does not use the traditional comic masks that were popular during the original time period. This challenges the actors to better communicate the emotional and comic content of the script.

“People will be pleasantly surprised when they get to experience this production that they may never have heard of before,” adds Suchy. “The show is coming along wonderfully and everyone is super excited. The only thing that is missing at this point is an audience.”

Tickets for each show are $15 for adults and $10 for youths. Tickets are available online at hatfieldhall.com, by phone at 812-877-8544 or at the Hatfield Hall ticket desk Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 90 minutes before each show. Tickets and complete show information also are available at hatfieldhall.com.