A servant to two masters

Front Cover
Methuen, Dec 9, 1999 - Drama - 128 pages

Goldoni’s eighteenth-century masterpiece is an enduring story of love, passion and mistaken identity. Young Venetian Clarice can't marry her lover, Silvio. She had been betrothed to Rasponi, who appears to have returned from the dead to claim her. But the Rasponi who appears is actually Beatrice, Rasponi's sister who is in disguise as her brother and has come to Venice to find her suitor, Florinda. Complications arise when a servant greedily seeks employment with both the disguised Beatrice and Florinda and spends the rest of the play trying to serve two masters while keeping the two unaware of the other's presence.

The play is based on the Italian Renaissance theatre style, Commedia dell’arte, and reinvigorated the genre, which is so heavily based on carnival, while bringing to it an element of realism, mishaps, mix-ups, confusions, disguises and mistaken identity that come with the style.

In this new, rapid fire adaptation by award winning dramatist Lee Hall, the language has been updated to now in order to give the action the fast-paced feeling of a Christmas pantomime.



Goldoni’s eighteenth-century masterpiece is an enduring story of love, passion and mistaken identity. Young Venetian Clarice can't marry her lover, Silvio. She had been betrothed to Rasponi, who appears to have returned from the dead to claim her. But the Rasponi who appears is actually Beatrice, Rasponi's sister who is in disguise as her brother and has come to Venice to find her suitor, Florinda. Complications arise when a servant greedily seeks employment with both the disguised Beatrice and Florinda and spends the rest of the play trying to serve two masters while keeping the two unaware of the other's presence.

The play is based on the Italian Renaissance theatre style, Commedia dell’arte, and reinvigorated the genre, which is so heavily based on carnival, while bringing to it an element of realism, mishaps, mix-ups, confusions, disguises and mistaken identity that come with the style.

In this new, rapid fire adaptation by award winning dramatist Lee Hall, the language has been updated to now in order to give the action the fast-paced feeling of a Christmas pantomime.

The Servant of Two Masters, written in 1743, is expert farce.”—The New York Times

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Dorothy Louise has adapted Arthur Schnitzler'sReigen, Mary Shelley'sFrankenstein, and de Beaumarchais'sThe Marriage of Figaro. She teaches theatre at Franklin & Marshall College and has been a Fellow of the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland. She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic information