The Servant of Two Masters

Carlo Goldoni, adapted by Constance Congdon

Enter total users


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 theater 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.

Production Info

Cast: 13 total (3 female, 10 male)
Full Length Comedy (about 115 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Period Costumes
Categories: , Tag:

Press Quotes

“… madcap farce, heroic romance, operetta and dramatic dueling with a feminist slash. Goldoni’s simple but convoluted story turns on two sets of lovers, two impossible fathers and manipulative servants … As adapted by Constance Congdon, this SERVANT jumps from formal language and fractured Latin gags to familiar phrases (‘sweet bird of youth’ and ‘a palpable hit’) to American slang … a silly, stylish tour of comedy’s infinite variety.” —Malcolm Johnson, The Hartford Courant

“… freshly funny … wickedly goofy, sometimes bawdy delight.” —Hartford Advocate

About the Author


  • Carlo Goldoni

    Carlo Goldoni was born at Venice in 1707. From his earliest years he appears to have been interested in the theater: his toys were puppets and his books, plays. It is said that at the age of eight he attempted to write a play. The boy's father placed him under the care of the philosopher Caldini at Rimini, but the youth soon ran away with a company of strolling players and came to Venice. There he began to study law; he continued his studies at Pavia, though he relates in his Memoirs that a considerable part of his time was spent in reading Greek and Latin comedies. He had already begun writing at this time, and, as a result of a libel in which he ridiculed certain families of Pavia, he was forced to leave the city. He continued his law studies at Udine, and eventually took his degree at Modena. He was employed as law clerk at Chioggia and Feltre, after which he returned to his native city and began practicing. But his true vocation was the theater, and he made his bow with a tragedy, AMALASUNTA, produced at Milan, but this was a failure. His next play, BELISARIO, written in 1734, succeeded. He wrote other tragedies for a time, but he was not long in discovering that his bent was for comedy. He had come to realize that the Italian stage needed reforming, and adopting Molière as his model, he went to work in earnest, and in 1738 produced his first real comedy, L'UMO DI MONDO. During his many wanderings and adventures in Italy, he was constantly at work, and when, at Leghorn, he became acquainted with the manager Medebac, he determined to pursue the profession of playwriting in order to make a living. He was employed by Medebac to write plays for his theater in Venice. He worked for other managers, and produced during his stay in that city some of his most characteristic works. In 1761 he went to Paris, where he continued to write. Among the plays which he wrote in French, the most successful was LE BOURRU BIENFAISANT, produced on the occasion of the marriage of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1771. He enjoyed considerable popularity in France, and when he retired to Versailles the King gave him a pension. But when the Revolution broke out, he was deprived of it. The day after his death, however, the Convention voted to restore the pension. He died in 1793.

  • Constance Congdon

    Constance Congdon has been called "one of the best playwrights our country and our language has ever produced" by playwright Tony Kushner in Kushner's introduction to her collection TALES OF THE LOST FORMICANS AND OTHER PLAYS. In addition to TALES OF THE LOST FORMICANS, which has had more than 200 productions worldwide, Congdon's plays include: CASANOVA, DOG OPERA, NO MERCY, LOSING FATHER'S BODY, LIPS and NATIVE AMERICAN. PARADISE STREET, was produced in Los Angeles and Amherst. Three commissions from the American Conservatory Theater: A MOTHER, starring Olympia Dukakis, a new verse version of THE MISANTHROPE, and a new adaptation of THE IMAGINARY INVALID, were all produced by ACT. Also at ACT: MOONTEL SIX, a commission by the ACT Young Conservatory and subsequently performed at London's National Theatre, followed by another production of the two-act version at San Francisco's ZEUM. THE AUTOMATA PIETÀ, another YC commission, received its world premiere at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 2002; NIGHTINGALES went to the Theatre Royale Bath's Youth Theatre. Congdon's NO MERCY, and its companion piece, ONE DAY EARLIER, were part of the 2000 season devoted to Congdon at the Profile Theatre. She has written a number of opera libretti and seven plays for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. THE CHILDREN OF THE ELVI, Congdon's epic and NOT suitable for children, play received its premiere at the Key City Public Theater in 2007. Congdon's plays have been produced throughout the world, including Cairo, Tokyo and Berlin. Her new verse version of TARTUFFE is in a single-volume Norton Critical edition and in the Norton Anthology of Drama. In 2013, Congdon was the Honored Playwright at the GPTC and had a fully-staged workshop of her play about the water crisis in the West, TAKE ME TO THE RIVER. Her recent play HAIR OF THE DOG is about Shakespeare and Marlowe. Her most recent play, ENEMY SKY, is about drones, Islamaphobia, and late-in-life love. Congdon has received three NEA grants, two Rockefeller grants (one for Bellagio), an Albert Sloan grants for TAKE ME TO THE RIVER, The Berilla Kerr Award, Helen Merrill Award, The Albert Weissberger Award, New York Newsday's Oppenheimer Award for Best New Play in NYC, New England Theater Conference Award for Distinguished Service to the Theater (2004), two Great Plains Theater Conference Awards, one for Distinguished Service to the Theater and the other as the 2013 Honored Playwright. She is an alumnus of New Dramatists, The Playwright's Center of Minneapolis, and a current member of The Dramatists Guild and PEN. Congdon has taught playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, but her home is as playwright-in-residence at Amherst College where she has taught playwriting for 25 years. Her work is published by Norton, TCG, Inc, but mostly by Broadway Play Publishing.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 10/1/2006
Pages 94
ISBN 9780881453232

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced by Hartford Stage, CT

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Servant of Two Masters is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


11/6/2016 – 11/27/2016
Theatre For A New Audience
Brooklyn, NY


10/30/2023 – 10/30/2023
Windermere, FL

7/14/2023 – 7/15/2023
Black Box Theatre Company
Lebanon, IN

10/21/2021 – 10/23/2021
Cate School
Carpinteria, CA

8/13/2021 – 8/15/2021
Saint Petersburg City Theatre
Saint Petersburg, FL

5/18/2021 – 5/18/2021
Collegiate School
New York, NY

2/18/2020 – 2/23/2020
The University Of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL

3/7/2019 – 3/11/2019
California Institute Of The Arts
Valencia, CA

11/11/2016 – 11/12/2016
Western New England University
Springfield, MA

4/21/2016 – 4/23/2016
Isd #2154
Eveleth, MN