Servant of Two Masters | Year 9 Drama

Experimental Drama Theatre. Monday March 22nd.

The show must go on! Right? Even when one of your leading men breaks his arm on the weekend and is in a recovery ward instead of a stage wing. Even when a number of your best performers are at the Field Studies Centre. Even when half of Sydney is under water. The show must go on… right? So go on, it did… with a touch of improvisation, a dollop of versatility and a large helping of chutzpah on the part of the 12 boys in Year 9 Drama.

The boys performed excerpts from “Servant of Two Masters”- probably the most famous Commedia text. It has been adapted by Australian writer, Nick Enright and is also the prototype for the upcoming production of “One Man, Two Guvnors”. In the history of Commedia, most of the characters wore masks but no shoes. The performance venue was usually the back of a cart in a marketplace, the plots were familiar to the audience and used as points of improvised departure by the performers. The characters were archetypical, typically reviled if they were upper class or foreign. So, it’s well suited for Australian audiences.

As Ms Smith-Sergi reminded the small but supportive audience, the Drama Department celebrated its first live performance since before the pandemic, going back now 18 months. This was also the first public outing of the Department’s theme of “Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes”. For most of these boys, it was their first time on stage before an audience, other than their teacher. So, most were trying on shoes for the first time.

There was much to appreciate here – Joey Britton’s “I’m Not Dead Yet” Pantalone, Toby Henry’s feisty Clarice, Angus Madden’s maddeningly pathetic Silvio, Aidan Kuoch’s noble Florindo, Hugo Nguyen’s crafty Dottore, Aidan Gaitanis’s unflappable Beatrice, Ben Moloney’s phlegmatic Smeraldina and Keegan Van’s irrepressible Truffaldino. Aaron Byeun and William Tran were versatile stage Spakfilla – they filled holes and roles everywhere. Some of the most inspiring moments came from problem solving on one’s feet (another shoe analogy) in drawing all the threads together. It ended up with three weddings where true love crossed the class, gender and socially distant divide. Pantalone paid for the lot.

Thanks to the boys’ teacher, Ms Smith Sergi for her inspirational genius, Mr Bradburn for his support and to Mr Bowden and Mr Barr for their encouraging presence.

Brendan Duhigg | Head of Drama

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