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Theatergoers will have a chance to attend a show that offers one of the best examples of the genre from which Looney Tunes, Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live all drew inspiration.
Servant of Two Masters, premiering in Colonial Williamsburg on Wednesday, is one of the best scripted commedia dell’arte plays that helped define the comedic tropes and stock characters still heavily in use today.
“It’s one of the greatest comedies of all time,” said Brandon Bruce, the senior manager of performance interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg.
The play was written in 1746 by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni.
The premise of the show is a man who becomes a servant to two different masters, all the while trying to keep each master in the dark about the other. Forbidden romances, violent confrontations and mistaken identities all play a role in this comedy of errors.
The star of the show is what is referred to in commedia dell’arte as a “Harlequin,” otherwise known as a clown or trickster who is both quick-witted and somewhat bizarre. It is from this character’s antics that the show derives most of its humor.
“It’s a very physical and athletic type of humor, with lots of clowning,” Bruce said.
The show also uses audience participation and varies from one performance to the next.
Bruce adapted this version of the show, which is presented by the theater troupe he formed two years ago when he first came to work for Colonial Williamsburg, with a family in audience in mind.
The troupe, known as Mr. Hallam’s Traveling Players, also performs the popular Sword Play show that recently returned for its second year at the Kimball Theatre
Like Sword Play, Servant is intended to be a spectacle of silliness that will appeal to the huge variety of guests who come through Colonial Williamsburg each day.
“There’s something for any one person in the family,” said Bruce.
Opening night is Wednesday at the Charlton Stage, weather permitting. On July 22, shows will move to the Kimball Theatre. Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for youths ages 6 through 12. Children under 6 get in free. A complete schedule and more ticket information can be found here.
York Senior Center Awarded for Driver Safety Program
The Senior Center of York received an award last month from the AARP Driver Safety Program in recognition of the effects it has had on driver safety in the community.
The Top State Host Award is given to the location with the highest number of Driver Safety Program participants statewide. In 2014, the Senior Center had more 200 participants in its program over the course of 10 two-day sessions.
The purpose of the Driver Safety Program is to help people 50 and older remain confident, safe and independent drivers. This classroom-based initiative gives participants a refresher in road safety.
“AARP Driver Safety plays a critical role in educating drivers and helping them maintain their safety and independence,” said Kyle Rakow, interim National Director of AARP Driver Safety.
The Senior Center of York’s partnership with the AARP Driver Safety Program dates back over 20 years. Nationally the program is offered in more than 18,000 communities. To date, more than 15 million participants have gone through either classroom or online training, according to a recent press release.
“Our initiative would not be so successful without the support of our host organizations, who generously dedicate staff time, resources and facility space to serving older Americans,” Rakow said.