Monday, September 25, 2017

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

You could not have asked for two more different plays than what we saw this weekend.  The firsts was a bizarre comedy, The Servant of Two Masters.

It is an updated version of the Goldoni commedia dell'arte comedy, written in 1555.  It is rife with modern references to things like the current administration and the local basketball team. 

You know it's a farce from the beginning because of all the doors on stage, which, of course, make for a long chase scene at the end. 

The situation is that Truffaldino (the guy in the picture) is servant to a master who is visiting the 1987 Jersey shore.  While there he gets the chance to hire on with a second master, and figures he can get paid by both and keep each from knowing he is also working for the other.  Only his first master, Florindo, is hunting for the love of his life, Beatrice, unaware that Truffaldino's second "master" is actually Beatrice disguised as her dead brother, looking for Florindo, the love of her life.  (got that?)

Bert Anderson, who played Truffaldino, was fantastic, a towering presence who often reminded me of Jim Brochu.

It's all very silly and ends with both lovers trying to commit suicide by drowning themselves together (not realizing who the other one is).  In the audience there were seats set aside as the "splash zone," as the two made quite a splash, jumping into a container of water.

It was just non stop slapstick and, truth be told, I am not a big fan of slapstick, so my tolerance was wearing thin in the second act, but the audience howled throughout and I gave it a 5-star rating.

You could not get a more different play than Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf the next afternoon.

The show started at 3 p.m. because it's 3-1/2 hrs long, with two intermissions.

Though this Albee play is an American classic, I had never seen it, nor had I seen more than snippets of the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton movie.  I thought of calling it a modern day Bickersons in my review, but then thought perhaps most of my readers wouldn't know the radio couple who kept people laughing at their constant fights back in the 1940s.

Though very long, it was never boring, that's for sure!  Pictured are Elizabeth Nunziato as Martha and Jason Kuykendall (Elizabeth's real-life husband) as Nick, the George Segal role.

There are some weird things about this play.  It starts at 2 a.m., as George and Marta return from a party, awaiting guests who were also at the party and whom Martha invited to join them at their home.  Who goes visiting at 2 a.m.?  But.  Whatever.  It's  3 hours of fighting, name-calling and drinking with a heartbreaking ending.  It was excellent.

It was 9 p.m. before we left and so we went to Mel's diner for dinner before going home.

I was glad there was nothing on the schedule for Sunday and I could sit and work on the reviews, and also watch Moana, the movie, in preparation for being with the grandkids on the weekend!

By the way, if you have nothing to do at 7 p.m. Boston time (4 p.m. California), Jeri's annual concert of pieces she has written and performs with piano accompaniment is going to be streamed live at  If you like the clarinet, you should enjoy it!

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