Sonoma Valley High School graduate Reed Martin is an adjunct instructor at SRJC’s Theatre Arts Department, but he is best known for running the three-man comedy troupe, the Reduced Shakespeare Company (RSC).
This month, his newest directorial effort is Carlo Goldoni’s “Servant of Two Masters” at SRJC. The show is a cross between traditional Italian comedy and postmodern vaudeville. This new version of Goldoni’s classic pits the madcap servant Truffaldino against masters, mistresses, lovers, lawyers, and 27 plates of meatballs. Martin describes it as a Bob Hope or Woody Allen comedy written by the Monty Python guys and performed with the physical bravura of Chaplin or Keaton — with places in the script for ad-libs and audience participation.
“You don’t need to know a single thing about Italian theater from 271 years ago to fully enjoy ‘The Servant of Two Masters,’” says Martin. “The show is full of comic characters and situations that will be completely familiar to modern audiences. The sense of humor is nouveau vaudevillian in style – frequently breaking through the imaginary fourth wall of the theater to speak directly to the audience, as well as using anachronistic references and physical comedy to comic effect.”
Martin is a graduate of UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and the Bill Kinnamon School of Professional Umpire Training. He has performed in 46 states and 11 foreign countries, “including New Jersey,” he quips. Prior to joining the Reduced Shakespeare Company in 1989, he was a clown with Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Martin is a fan of “Servant.”
“This modern adaptation will clear away the cobwebs and give you a feel for the joy that audiences felt hundreds of years ago when they when they first encountered these wild, hilarious and anarchic characters,” he says. “The show is extremely high energy and includes tumbling, slapstick, wordplay, clowning and juggling.”
The show at SRJC runs through 19 with both matinees and evening performances. Tickets are $12 to $18 at theatrearts.santarosa.edu.