‘Servant of Two Masters’ preserves a theatrical tradition


Chico State’s School of the Arts put on a production of “Servant of Two Masters” from March 4 to March 8 in Larry Wismer Theatre. The classic commedia dell’arte play showcased a traditional art form that has been preserved for centuries, with the help of talent from student actors.

On Thursday’s performance, the show began with the establishment of the main characters and their relationships with each other. Truffaldino (Leif Bramer) is introduced as a clumsy, always hungry servant, who gets into trouble when he attempts to juggle having two masters at once, hence the title.

Leif Bramer, who portrayed the main character, Truffaldino, described his character and some of the highlights and challenges of playing him.

“The character that I play, Truffaldino, is the typical servant archetype,” Bramer said. “He’s very happy-go-lucky, he gets beat around a lot but he’s always persistent and he gets away with a lot without even trying.”

“My hardest scene I’d probably say is the dinner scene,” Bramer said, which is one of the most significant and noteworthy scenes in the play where Truffaldino must prepare dinner for both of his masters all the while they are both unaware of his double-servitude.

Bramer also explained a little more on the traditional style of commedia dell’arte, which “Servant of Two Masters” is deeply rooted in.

“It’s an eighteenth century Italian comedy style of acting that’s very physical and there are specific archetypes of characters,” Bramer said.

 As the tradition of commedia dell’arte was upheld, the other characters displayed some of the other popular archetypes. Some notable characters were Pantalone Dei Biognosi, (Dominic La Frantz) who is an older, rich merchant, Beatrice Rasponi (Jamie Wu) a woman disguised as her deceased brother, and Silvio (Zach Troutaman) who is a melodramatic romantic archetype.

“Servant of Two Masters” carried out a staple of commedia dell’arte and paid homage to a classic Italian style of theater, while still being relevant and entertaining for a younger generation of theater goers.

Chico State’s School of the Arts is putting on a performance of the Tony award-winning musical written by Lin Manuel-Miranda, “In the Heights” from April 30 to May 2. For more information about tickets or upcoming events, visit the School of the Arts website.

Danielle Kessler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.