Latest theater production serves up laughter with all the trimmings

Tapping into the basic truth that laughter never goes out of style, NAU Theater dishes up plenty of amusement with its upcoming farce, The Servant of Two Masters, on stage April 15-23 at the Studio Theater.

The Servant of Two Masters is a play within a play, and this version was adapted for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009. It follows a theater company that finds it has lost its funding and must get creative to keep the show alive.

Originally written by Carlo Goldoni, the play adheres to the principles of commedia dell’arte, an Italian style of comedy that uses fixed social types. The characters use masks to heighten the physical comedy and often engage in improvisation.

“The emotion of this play—and of all commedia dell’arte—comes from the physical work,” said Kathleen M. McGeever, chair of the theater department and director of the production. “There is an innocence and honesty with these archetypes. What was true of humanity then is true now.”

NAU Theater students comprise the cast and include Tony Latham as Truffaldino, Viola Award nominee Angela Kriese as Smeraldina,Travis Marsala as Pantalone, and Alex Oliver as Dottore.

Costume design is by Jennifer Peterson; mask design is by Patrick Battles; scenic design by Kate Ellis; lighting and sound design is by Ben Alexander; the charge artist is Rachel Solis; and Nicole Jones is the stage manager.

There will be a 10-minute pre-curtain discussion 30 minutes before each performance.

The show runs at 8 p.m. April 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23, and at 2 p.m. April 17. Tickets are $2 for NAU students, $12 for staff, faculty and seniors, and $14 for the general public and are available by calling (928) 523-5661 or at the Central Ticketing Office in the University Union.