Meeting the Audience

By Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

Now that our opening weekend for The Servant of Two Masters is over, the fun really begins. Not only do the cast and crew really get to settle into their roles, we also get to start hearing feedback from our audience members. Some will be formal in the terms of reviews, while others will be informal discussions with friends, family, and strangers who attended the show.

The ability to talk to our audience really is one of the most fulfilling parts of doing theatre. Not only do we love to hear your thoughts on the show, we love to discover what questions you have about the issues discussed, the process of creation, or anything else that you have on your mind.

Servant_1_300x365One of the ways that we ensure that we will get to hear from our audience is through our post show discussions. These post shows (also called Meet the Company) happen immediately after the Thursday night performances of each production. The audience is invited to stay, the actors come out, and the dramaturg moderates a discussion based on those thoughts and questions that the audience has.

If you’ve never been to a post show, I invite you to attend one for The Servant of Two Masters, which are happening on March 28th and April 4th. If you’re in the audience that night, all you have to do is stick around, and if you’ve seen the show another night, all you have to do is show up around the end of the show (about 9:30) and walk into the theatre. The discussion is free, and always proves to be a fascinating event.

Serving Up a Trailer

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

If you are an avid BYU theatre fan, you probably have noticed that the department releases trailers for all the shows.  Just like a movie trailer, these trailers are a great way to get an instantaneous understanding of the overall feel of the show you are about to see.

The trailer for The Servant of Two Masters is no exception.

As tomorrow (Friday) is opening night, it seemed like the right moment to share. Hopefully it brings a little joy to your day.

A Designer’s Mind

by Lyndi Sue Mecham, Costume Designer and Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

As so many of the design elements for a show need to work together in harmony, designers often collaborate with one another, sharing ideas, thoughts, and inspirations.  In the case of The Servant of Two Masters, one collaboration was between Costume Designer Lyndi Sue Mecham and BYU’s Hair and Make-up Supervisor Janell Turley.  Turley was creating the wigs for a few characters and came to Mecham to discuss how the wig could enhance the design of the costumes.  Here is a look at what inspirations and ideas Mecham shared in order to help Turley create the perfect wig for the character of Clarice. You can find the complete journey to Clarice’s costume (and other characters) in the program study guide.

Clarice: Ingénue in looks, period influence, but with modern edge


These were the main pictures (and descriptive words) I kept from the “character icon” packet for Clarice. The first one is the traditional Clarice from Commedia shape. I liked the loud but soft hairpiece in the second, and I love the roll/curl/”hurricane”/swirl in Paris’ hair. It wouldn’t have to be that big and I definitely don’t want the slick look for everything else, but I love that swoop. Especially if it’s ombre.


These are images Stephanie sent in the beginning. Something that really helped me to understand the characters and where to take them was watching rehearsals and run-through. The dress from the front cover of strictly ballroom definitely played part in Clarice’s dress though, so that’s still there.


These were the ideas that inspired the rest of Clarice. I did a mesh of everything and came up with two different renderings. The design progressed from my favorite (it actually goes left to right) when I found out what she needed to do in rehearsal. I loved the sparkle, but we decided the best mix would be the shape on the right, but that we could invert the layers to underneath instead of over the top. That tied in the “period” feel we wanted but let it still be modern. Making sense?

clarcostThis is the painting, titled “The Happy Accidents of the Swing,” painted sometime in the second half of the 18th century. In the movie “The Slipper and the Rose” this scene is almost replicated as far as the female character goes.

slipperThis film is the reason I have always wanted to be a costume designer. When Director Stephanie Breinholt told me that she wanted a mix of the periods in every character, I knew the inspiration for “period” in Clarice’s dress would come from this movie.

slipper2I love the tiny little, perfectly round spit curls on the side next to the beautiful swoop over the ear. I love the height, and I’m pretty sure there are little sparkly things in it because in the movie, the Fairy Godmother makes the wig out of a mop head and magical bubbles. It’s really cool.

clarmovieI also pulled some inspiration from early movie stars for the dress, though the sleeves are about the only thing that stayed. A different option to curls that lead into the chignon could be fingerwaves. I have no idea how well they hold up, but this is gorgeous, and reminds me of some of the rippled trims on her dress.

So that is a brief look into some of my inspirations. That was fun. Designing IS really fun.


In the Midst of Tech

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

Friday night, The Servant of Two Masters entered the newest phase of rehearsal: tech.  Technical Rehearsals (most commonly known as “tech”) is when we leave the classroom we’ve been rehearsing in and move on stage.  One by one, the technical elements of costume, make-up, lights, sound, and props are added, and every night we get a little closer to having the full show on stage.

For this show, the first order of business was spacing.  With the nature of the set, the cast needed time to see how blocking they’ve been practicing worked with the backdrop (with its door and shutters), the fountain, the ropes, and the entrances and exit.

Once the cast felt comfortable with the space, the second element added was props. While the cast had access to “rehearsal props” during the first few weeks (items that resemble or stand in place of the actual props), the transition from rehearsal props to real props can always be a little tricky. Some items don’t work the same way, or are a slightly different size or shape, and so the cast, director, stage manager and prop designer have to work together to make sure that everything is perfect.

Tonight we start to add two more elements: lights and costumes. Since lights and costumes can have a major effect on each other (just imagine what would happen if you had a beautiful red dress put under a dark green light), lights and costumes are being added together to make sure that both designers (as well as the director) are happy with the results.

With each night we are getting one step closer to the final look of the show!

And just to give you an idea, here’s a little sneak peak at one of our publicity photos…

servant pub


Happy Commedia Dell’Arte Day!

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

logosatThe cast and crew of The Servant of Two Masters would like to wish you a happy commedia dell’arte day!  Celebrated every February 25th, commedia dell’arte day is an international celebration hosted by the Italian cultural association SAT.  SAT has held this annual celebration since 2005, in a effort to help Italy and the United Nations (UNESCO) honor commedia as an official piece of “Intangible Cultural Heritage“.

logo2013-medThis year, the largest part of the commedia dell’arte day celebration is being held in Istanbul. Running from the 17th to the 28th of February, the commedia dell’arte celebration features a long list of commedia performances, presentations, workshops, and a carnival parade.

As The Servant of Two Masters is built on the commedia tradition, we are happy to add just a small part to this celebration!



Adventures in LA

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

kcactf_bannerFor the last week, a majority of the cast and production team for The Servant of Two Masters traveled with a group from the BYU theatre department to Los Angeles for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Though out the year, colleges and universities from around the country are judged on the different shows they produce – everything from the acting to the design to the dramaturgy to the stage management.  Students have the possibility to be nominated for different awards and then every year they come together at KCACTF to compete.  KCACTF starts as a regional competition (Utah is in Region 8, along with Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and parts of California), and the winners from each category travel to Washington DC to compete at the national level.

The week in LA was a great opportunity to see the cast and production team in a new light.  Not only were they competing in their nominated categories, but many were involved in different workshops and opportunities throughout the week.

Now that we’ve returned to Utah, its time to kick rehearsal into a whole new gear.  We have about a week and a half before we start technical rehearsals, where we will add costumes, lights, make-ups, wigs, sound and the set to the world that is being created. Until then, the time will be spent polishing and refining the work that was done before KCACTF. In other words, this is where the fun really begins.

Design Insights: The Servant Set

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

In our production meetings, we’ve had the privilege of seeing the evolution of the scenic design for The Servant of Two Masters. Designer Eric Fielding and his assistant Logan Hayden have been hard at work at creating a set that reflects director Stephanie Breinholt’s concept for the show.

The design accentuates Stephanie’s vision of a production where all the visual elements have a timeless feel, with no specific time period. Located in a traditional Italian piazza, the set combines different period from the forced perspective of historical design to the “Laugh-in” style of doors and windows.  The combination of these different elements, design styles and periods, creates the perfect stage for this zany production.

Here’s a picture of Eric’s original design.

Set Design courtesy of Eric Fielding

Set Design courtesy of Eric Fielding

And currently, if you walk through the tunnel of the HFAC, you can see the different elements under construction.

Photo Jan 30, 6 52 48 PMPhoto Jan 30, 6 53 13 PM

A Run for the Designers

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

For The Servant of Two Masters, the first two weeks back in school have been focused creating the foundation of the show.  Lines have been memorized, characters have started to develop, the overall blocking (movement of the actors) has been set, and the beginning ideas for all the lazzi moments in the show have begun to sprout.  So much creation has been done, that the next step was to do a Designer Run.

A Designer Run is the first moment that the cast performs the show all the way through for the designers.  While still very much in the beginning stages, it gives the designer’s the opportunity to see the world that is being created and to make sure that the ideas that they are developing in their individual shops are still working.  This past weekend, the set, lighting, costume, sound and prop designers all joined with the cast, the director, the assistant directors, the stage manager and myself to watch the cast put the whole show together for the very first time.

It was a good time.

Here were some of my favorite moments:

Our first intro to the characters

Our first intro to the characters

Our lovers are introduced

Our lovers are introduced

Rivalry? Or alliance?

Rivalry? Or alliance?

The servant girls come out to play

The servant girls come out to play

Chaos starts to ensue

Chaos starts to ensue

Things start to heat up

Things start to heat up

And we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what this show is to become!

Commedia Bootcamp

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

Before we headed off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Director Stephanie Breinholt and myself put our Servant of Two Masters’ cast through a “commedia bootcamp” – a day dedicated to learning the history, characters, physicality and movement styles of commedia dell’arte.  This bootcamp will serve as the foundation for the style and physical world of our eventual production.

It was a hilarious day.

Here are some of our favorite moments:


Meet the Playwright: Carlo Goldoni

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

At the end of commedia dell’arte’s 200 year reign in Italy, there came a man name Carlo Goldoni.  Born in 1707, Goldoni had a love of theatre from his childhood. However, though Goldoni had made his theatrical start writing typical commedia scenarios, with little or no alteration from the accepted traditions, he was concerned that commedia did not fully represent the Italian way of life and manners.  So he decided to make a change.

Building off of the works of the Greeks as well as more contemporary playwrights such as Moliere, Goldoni set out to reform the Italian theatre.  Believeing that reform happened through providing strong examples instead of simply ideas, Goldoni started to create his own plays.  Goldoni became famous for his hybrid style which combined the beloved nature of commedia dell’arte with the style and wit of Moliere. Some of his big changes included replacing the improvisational nature with written scripts, removing the masks so that the actors faces could be seen and reinventing the nature of the lazzi.  Legend has it that every time he finished a play he said, “Good.  But not yet Moliere.”

The Servant of Two Masters is Goldoni’s most beloved script.  It has been translated into many languages and has been adapted for theatres, film and televisions around the world.