Photo Flash: First Look at THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS at New Village Arts
New Village Arts presents the World Premiere of a new adaptation of the classic commedia dell'arte comedy THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS. This new version of the Italian classic by Carlo Goldoni is translated by AJ Knox, and adapted by Knox and Samantha Ginn. Ginn also stars as the titular servant, Truffaldino.
THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS is a laugh-a-minute screwball comedy. Based on the original commedia dell'arte play, Knox and Ginn have adapted the production for a new audience and a fresh cast, inspired by comedy classics like Airplane!, The Marx Brothers, and Monty Python. When the trickster Truffaldino signs on to serve two masters in the hope of double wages and double dinners, chaos and hilarity ensue. This witty new adaptation is brought to life by an ensemble production full of music, magic, and every trick in the theatrical rucksack - from Goldoni to Groucho Marx.
Knox returns to NVA in his second directorial outing, having recently received a Craig Noel Award nomination for his direction of Avenue Q. "I am thrilled to be bringing this adaptation to New Village Arts," says Knox. "Comedy has always been my passion, and with this production, we're strictly going for a glut of gags. We've created a true ensemble comedy, where every moment in the show is an opportunity for a laugh." In keeping with the improvisational tradition of commedia dell'arte, Knox and Ginn are encouraging the cast to contribute to the writing process and encouraging improvisation within each performance. Ginn remarks, "There are so few theatres in San Diego who are staging pure comedy, and it's a joy to get to do that with NVA. Sometimes, it's important to take a break from everything and just spend a couple hours laughing!"
In addition to Ginn in the leading role, the production stars a veritable who's who of San Diego comedic talents, with skills including stand-up comedy, clowning, mime, music, and acrobatics. Returning to NVA: Dallas McLaughlin (Winner of the 2016 San Diego's Funniest Person Competition; American Hero), Gerilyn Brault (Avenue Q), Tony Houck (Avenue Q--San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Award Nominee), Max Macke (Awake & Sing), Skyler Sullivan (Emilie), Durwood Murray (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Amara Young (Miss Bennet). They are joined by NVA newcomers Eliana Payne and Sherri Allen.
The production will also feature performances from the newly-formed "Mainstage Players"--an extension of Samantha Ginn's Monday Night Live! for students who have aged out of that program. This is a professional development and actor training program geared toward helping young adults with neurodiversity prepare to become active parts of professional and community theatre organizations. For THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS, the group held auditions and callbacks, have done character studies and held rehearsals, and followed the usual steps toward participating in a show under Sam's guidance. Each student will have a handful of performances throughout the run of SERVANT, where they will get to share the stage with Ginn as Truffaldino. They will prepare backstage with the rest of the cast, and have a full backstage experience for their professional NVA debuts.
The creative ensemble includes longtime NVA designers, including Christopher Scott Murillo (Scenic Design), Cassie Langan (Properties Design), Chris Renda (Lighting Design), Violet Ceja (Sound Design), Jenna Ingrassia-Knox (Choreography), alongside NVA newcomers Keira McGee (Costume Design) and Emily Dragon (Stage Manager).
The production will run from April 5 to May 5, 2019.
Photo Credit: Darren Scott