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One man, two bosses, is a funny scenario

Classic Italian comedy gives theater audiences plenty to enjoy, Chen Nan reports.

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-18 10:18

Xu Zixuan (left), who plays the role of Clarice, and Yang Qi, who plays Beatrice, during a rehearsal for the Chinese stage adaptation of the Italian comedy The Servant of Two Masters at the NCPA on Monday.[Photo provided to China Daily]

'Desserts are always a great choice to end a meal. For those who want to wrap up their busy and exhausting day, we present you with this special sweet treat, a comedy, which is even better as a dessert with a side of laughter," says actor Dong Wenliang, talking about the new Chinese stage adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters — a masterpiece of comedic theater.

As a member of the NCPA Drama Ensemble, the resident drama troupe of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Dong is going to play the lead role of servant, Truffaldino, in the comedy, The Servant of Two Masters, which will premiere at the NCPA on May 31 with shows running until June 3.

Considered one of Italy's finest playwrights, Goldoni wrote The Servant of Two Masters in 1745. The play has delighted audiences for centuries, and the classic comedy has been translated into different languages.

Set in Venice, it tells the story of the crafty Truffaldino, a servant who secretly works for two masters to make more money. He must do his best to serve both without either one knowing he is serving the other. The two, who accidentally share the same servant, were once lovers, and have been looking for each other for years.

The god of destiny makes fools of them all through a strange combination of circumstances.

Truffaldino's secret is nearly revealed on many occasions, but each time, his tact helps him throw others off the scent. Similarly, the lovers fail to reunite with each other every time. After a hilarious series of misunderstandings and mistakes, the story comes to a happy ending, with the lovers finally getting married.

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