But all good things must come to an end. By the 18th century fresh invention had ceased, the spirit waned, and the spent comedians were salting their now stale intrigue plots and stereotyped buffooneries with rude sensational incident and suggestive gesture. Women in childbirth and mock circumcisions were material for farcical treatment and the chamber-pot had become a favorite prop. Was commedia finished?
Enter Carlo Goldoni. Born in 1707 in - where else - Venice to stage-struck parents, he became the great reformer of Italian theatre as librettist for Mozart, among others. Beginning in 1745, Goldoni launched an attack on the debased and decayed state into which commedia had fallen. From his over 150 works written during the next 18 years, The Servant of Two Masters has emerged as one of Goldoni's most enduring plays. With honed dialogue and developed characters, Servant merges commedia with a richer, more naturalistic style of comedy.
As Justin Gregson, translator and co-adaptor of our version of the play says, 'It is almost as if the 'myth' of the world of this play, the stock characters and situations, is being shown for the last time; but we are clearly shown how that myth - the grasping father, the lovers, the ridiculous pedant, the maid who runs everybody's lives, the rustic anarchic life-force - can continue to shadow a more realistic world.'
- Robert S. Currier, Director