The servant of two masters


Italian director Andrea Paciotto was asked to produce a play for the Venice Theatre Biennale 2007, and for this opportunity decided to collaborate with a theatre group from Uzice (Serbia) to produce an adaptation of Goldoni’s play “The Servant of two Masters”.

I will join him to work on the ‘electronic’ part of the music as well on the background video, which will be closely woven into the live action.

Press release

A balcanic “Servant of two Masters” will premiere at Venice Biennale

(Rome – March 12, 2007) Presented today at the Embassy of Serbian republic in Rome the new adaptation of Goldoni?s play created by Director Andrea Paciotto, in collaboration with Susanne Winnaker and Jovan Cirilov

The servant of two masters

or the comedy of double games

A new adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s original play by Andrea Paciotto, Susanne Winnaker, Jovan Cirilov, created with the company of actors from National Theatre of Uzice

poster preview

A poster preview. ©Andrea Paciotto.


Double games are the passion of cold-blooded spies, ruthless politicians, international hypocritical diplomats and war masters. Literature, movies and history are full of such stories.

Why do I have to choose between this or that, if I can try to have it all? I just have to be smart and juggle multiple situations. Just try to take advantage of the circumstances and get as much as I can for as long as I can. Nothing wrong with that.

This is a simple and artless thought, that we can all accept and share, to different degrees. It is called ?take advantage of a situation, pursue your best interest?. It is a good quality for a person, to be able to handle multiple tasks, to juggle more then one request at the same time, to serve more then one master. But when the tasks are in conflict with each other, when the requests clash, when the masters are enemies, the situation can become too complicated and dangerous.

The Servant of two Masters, or the comedy of double game is a theatre performance based upon a play by eighteen-century Italian dramatist Carlo Goldoni. The story concerns the humorous complications of Truffaldino, the servant. He is not a victim of a class system, a spy, or an intriguer. He is a contemporary Harlequin, a penniless poor soul that tries to take advantage from any occasion that presents itself to him. Driven by a mixture of malice and naiveté, he accepts to give his exclusive full-time service to two people at the same time, the two masters. He is not at all aware of who they are; he does not know that between them there is an unresolved story of love, murder and disguise. He becomes increasingly troubled as he runs around trying to fulfill their orders, without being discovered, and struggles to remember what exactly he is supposed to be doing for whom. In the evolving of the story, the situation becomes more and more intertwined. But there is no way back for him, he has gone too far already. He can only try to juggle the game, walk on the tightrope like an equilibrist.

The adaptation is born out of the collaboration between director Andrea Paciotto, dramaturges Susanne Winnacker and Jovan Cirilov. The aim is to operate a contemporary translation of the play, departing from the original context of Commedia dell?Arte and transforming it into an ironic and fierce comedy about profit and double games. Whereas Goldoni’s play was originally set in the hustle and bustle of the merchant city of Venice, in this new version the town becomes a sort of no man’s land, a frontier zone, where people come to make deals and traffic. Where business and profit are the only laws. The ironic sharpness of the famous Venetian author, the piercing and energetic sarcasm typical of the Balkan culture, will be combined in a contemporary staging that will include video, a live band and electronic sounds, exalting the charm of a raw and cutting aesthetic and creating an explosive and dynamic mix of funny and ferocious theatre.

Pushing the story to the extreme consequences, we want to evidence the ?chiaroscuri?, the contrasts, the contradictions and the double quality of men’s actions. The result is a bittersweet parable, full of irony that describes the primitive behavior of human beings, when they are driven primarily by personal interest, profit and power. In this adaptation, the structure of the original play, the relation between the characters and the situations that gradually build to a sequence of absurd and funny misunderstandings, with exchanges of persons and roles, remain at the base of the show. Amusing because cruel, absurd because disastrous. Events that become the expression of a degraded humanity, full of contradictions, reduced to the basic needs and material interests.


Translation Jovan Cirilov
Director Andrea Paciotto
Dramaturgy Susanne Winnacker
Production Design Mia David Zaric
Costume Design Snecana Kovacevic
Electronic music and media design Jan Klug
Live music Alexandra Djordjevic
Light Design Andre Pronk
Sound Design Nikola Pejovic
Stage Manager Milena Radomirovic Comic
Assistant Director Nemanja Rankovic
Organization Adriana Garbagnati
Vesna Bogunovic
Ljiljana Matic
Co-production Biennale di Venezia
Teatro Nazionale di Uzice
BITEF Teatro
Offucina Eclectic Arts
Grand Theatre Groningen
Support Ministry of Culture of Serbian Republic
City of Belgrade
City of Uzice
Embassy of Serban Republic in Rome
Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrade
La MaMa Theatre New York


World premiere within the program of
39. International Theatre Festival of Venice Biennale 19/20 July 2007

Serbian premiere
Bitef International Festival 14-29 September 2007

New York premiere
La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, May 2008



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