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The Servant of Two Masters (1976)

The Servant of Two Masters

A play by Carlo Goldoni, translated by Edward J Dent, performed at the Nottingham Playhouse (18 March - 26 May 1976).


The Servant of Two Masters is a madcap play, drawing on the commedia dell'arte tradition. 

In Venice, Beatrice has assumed the identity of her late brother, in order to search for his murderer, Florindo, who also happens to have been her lover. 

The entertaining Truffaldino, servant to the disguised Beatrice, secretly enters the service of the very man she seeks.  By working for two members of the gentry, the servant merely hopes to satisfy his terrible hunger with double the amount of rations! 

While Truffaldino's actions are motivated by a basic need, they nevertheless provoke a series of complicated comic events, in which the servant struggles to reconcile the demands of his superiors.  Will another spirited servant, Smeraldina, provide Truffaldino with an alternative way to satisfy his hunger: love?


Pantalone ... Roger Booth
Clarice ... Judy Riley
Doctor Lombardi ... Arthur Kohn
Silvio ... David Beames
Beatrice ... Celia Foxe
Florindo ... John Price
Brighella ... Malcolm Storry
Smeraldina ... ZoŽ Wanamaker
Truffaldino ... Sylveste McCoy
Waiter/Porter ... John Dicks
Waiter/Porter ... Chris Lillicrap
Musician ... Andrew Dickson


This production of The Servant of Two Masters, presented by the Nottingham Playhouse Company, had a predominantly monochrome set that provided a striking contrast to the characters' lavish, colourful costumes.

ZoŽ was invited to join the Nottingham Playhouse Company by Richard Eyre, when he became artistic director of its theatre.  They had previously enjoyed working together in Edinburgh (on plays such as The Cherry Orchard).  She speaks warmly of the 'Intelligent, funny, sensitive, encouraging and enthusiastic' director (see 'Zoe Wanamaker: Nottingham Playhouse Made Me' interview).

The 1975-6 season at Nottingham was a formative period in her career; Zoe has praised the 'fantastic range of plays' in which she was given the opportunity to perform, during her nine months as a member of the company (see 'Zoe Wanamaker: Nottingham Playhouse Made Me' interview).  In addition to The Servant of Two Masters, she appeared in The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, The Beggar's Opera, Jug, A Streetcar Named Desire, Pygmalion, and Trumpets & Drums.


The Servant of Two Masters and Other Italian Classics by Carlo Goldoni, translated by Edward J Dent

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