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WBC Theatre to Feature Classic Comedy

11/8/2010

Identities are mistaken, engagements are broken, and couples are reunited in Carlo Goldoni's commedia dell'arte masterpiece, A Servant to Two Masters, the season opener for the Williams Baptist College theatre program.

The production, adapted for stage by Lee Hall of the Royal Shakespeare Company, tells the story of Truffaldino who stages a scheme to double his wages, and his meals, by serving two masters at once.

The actor playing the part, Cody Robinson of Marion, Ark., will be appearing in his first lead role at WBC. "Cody has been in the Story Store and Pygmalion last spring," said Melinda Williams, director of the production. "This will also be his first year in The Cast," added Williams. The Cast is a traveling creative ministry team from the college.

The two masters being served by Truffaldino are played by Charles Stover of Earle, Ark., and Katie Williams of Imboden, Ark. Katie Williams plays Beatrice, who disguises herself as her brother to clear the name of her fiancé, Florindo, played by Stover.

"One of the twists that occurred in the play is that both are Truffaldino's masters, but neither one knows it, and Truffaldino makes them both think the other is dead," explained the director.

The play is filled with physical comedy as well as plot twists. "We have lots of falling, tripping, stumbling, and the best part, a sword fight," said Williams. The group received help from Deborah Schmidt of the Northeast Arkansas Fencing Academy to choreograph the sword fight. "It was beyond my expertise," said Williams. "She came in, took over that aspect of the production, and made it look very convincing," the director added. 

The genre is not only known for its physical humor but also the stock characters. "The actors will be portraying characters that would be easily recognized by the audiences of the 17th and 18th centuries," Williams said.

Actors portraying those stock characters include: Elizabeth Fehr of Poplar Grover, Ark., and Branden Caffoe of Bull Shoals, Ark., as the young lovers; Nick McGinnis of Jonesboro, Ark., as Pantaloon; and Anna Hayden of Conway, Ark., as Brighella.

Other characters in the play weren't stock characters, but add to the humor and complicated plot line, the director added. Those include: Elizabeth (Bella) Rains of Quincy, Ill.; Sarah Meeks of Wynne, Ark.; Samantha Wilson of Batesville, Ark.; and Christina Graham of Paragould, Ark. "Christina has also been helping with the sword fight as well as appearing in the play," Williams said.

The production will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 18 and 19, in WBC's Old Chapel. Admission is $1 for students and senior citizens and $3 general admission.

 

Commedia dell'arte

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