AU Theatre Season Travels to Italy for a Physical Comedy Masterpiece

AU Theatre Season Travels to Italy for a Physical Comedy Masterpiece

10/15/13 ASHLAND, Ohio - Ashland University Department of Theatre continues its 2013-2014 season "Exploring World and Self” with Carlo Goldoni’s physical comedy masterpiece “The Servant of Two Masters” as adapted by Constance Congdon. Directed by newly appointed Assistant Professor of Theatre Scott Hudson, evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre on Nov. 1, 2, 8 and 9, along with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 3. 

Hudson holds B.F.A. in theatre from Florida State University and an M.F.A. in acting from Rutgers University. He is a member of New York City’s LAByrinth Theatre Company and collaborates on new works. His recent acting roles have included originating the role of Gail in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s “Our Lady of 121st Street” directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, performing at New York’s Playwright’s Horizons in Julio Cho’s “BFE and at The Public in LAByrinth’s production of “Dutch Heart of Man.”

As a director, his recent credits include a new short play by John Patrick Shanley at the New Ohio Theatre in New York City, and Bob Glaudini’s new play, “Boiling Point.” As a playwright, Hudson’s play “Sweet Storm was produced off-Broadway and won Broadway producer Daryl Roth’s Creative Spirit Award. Hudson also coaches actors in film, TV and stage including Tony nominated Elizabeth Rodrigues, and for ABC’s soap “All My Children.”

As the director of AU’s production of “The Servant of Two Masters,” director Hudson explains that this play “tells the story of a hungry servant, a disguised lover and the havoc their arrival brings to a small group of locals. Building upon the Commedia dell'arte tradition, the play remains a classic romantic comedy at heart; a predecessor to vaudeville, the screwball comedy and the modern slapstick. Commedia dell'arte first appeared in the 16th century as an improvisational form of theatre performed by professional troupes of actors. Each actor played the same role in each production, aiming to perfect his depiction of a stock character who was immediately recognizable to the audience through his costume, standardized movements, and comic mask. Whether it’s the young lovers swept up in fantasy, the mature lovers whose passions get the best of them, the miserly and pompous old men or the scheming servants, we recognize these characters as ancestors of the comedic personalities of modern cinema and theatre.”

The comedic character of the chronically hungry and wily servant Truffaldino is played by Deric Dove, sophomore musical theatre and music education major from Newark. Mayhem erupts when he hatches a zany scheme to double his wages and his meals by serving two masters at once including Beatrice portrayed by senior musical theatre major Katie Mounts of Ashland and Florindo played by senior theatre major Benjamin Isaiah Black of Akron.

While Beatrice and Florindo are romantically involved, the other romances in the play include Truffaldino with the maidservant Smeraldina, who is played by senior theatre major Kelli Lennox of Gahanna; and Clarice is with Silvio as portrayed by musical theatre majors freshman Logan Anne Baker of Reynoldsburg and senior Christian Neely of Amherst, respectively. Other cast members include senior theatre major Mason Adams of Amherst as Pantalone, senior hospitality management major Brandon Lee Wurgess of Fremont as Dottore, senior musical theatre major Kelsey Bowens of Willoughby as Brighella, and sophomore theatre major Natalyn Baisden of Wooster and junior theatre major De'Andre Peterson of Garfield Heights as the servants. 

The production’s set and lighting are designed by Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Scenic Designer Jason Coale while Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Costume Designer Sarah Russell designed the costumes with assistant designer, senior theatre major Kim Lennox of Gahanna.

Technical Director J. Michael Desper is the sound designer with Dusten Welch as the fight choreographer. Senior musical theatre major Jacob Poiner of Wellington and freshman theatre major Zachary Manthey of Munroe Falls are the show’s stage manager and assistant stage manager, respectively, while freshman music and psychology major Abbie Brady of Ashtabula is the dramaturge.

New for the 2013-2014 theatre season is "Inside the Season" pre-show talks, which are offered before the second Friday performance of each production. The "Inside the Season" pre-show talk for “The Servant of Two Masters” will be held Friday, Nov. 8, at 6:45 p.m. Patrons will have an opportunity to meet Hudson, who will lead the pre-show talk. He will give audience members the inside story as they learn more about the production and its creators with an emphasis on the actors’ process using Commedia dell'arte to develop their characters.

Tickets for the performances are: $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens, students, University faculty/staff; $8 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for Ashland University students. To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m.; or purchase online 24/7 at www.ashland.edu/tickets. For more information about the department of theatre, visit www.ashland.edu/theatre, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AshlandUniversityTheatre or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

 

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