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Out of Breath in Venice

By Anita Gates
The New York Times

When Truffaldino (Alex Morf) first takes the stage in The Servant of Two Masters, he looks and behaves a little like the young Ron Howard in his Happy Days period. As time passes, more of his mischievous side emerges, and he could easily pass for one of the Smothers Brothers. Then he starts doing cartwheels and pratfalls, and its clear that hes a much more physical actor than either of those look-alikes of the past.

Mr. Morf is doing all these moves in the Shakespeare Theater of New Jerseys bonbon of an outdoor production at the Greek Theater on the College of St. Elizabeth campus. It doesnt have much weight, but its delicious and made of fine ingredients. Read more.

'Servant of Two Masters' serves up plenty of humor

By William Westhoven
The Daily Record

Unemployment is still hovering near 10 percent, so actor Alex Morf must be very happy about his current situation. He certainly seems merry enough as the multitasking star of "The Servant of Two Masters," in which he talks his way into two jobs, two salaries and, more importantly, two dinners.

It's rare to see a newcomer snag the lead of a Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey production, so Morf has that achievement to stand on as well. He also can be proud of his work on the company's outdoor stage at the College of St. Elizabeth, where his endearing performance is part of a seductively silly production of Carlo Goldoni's rarely seen 18th century comedy. Read more.

'Servant of Two Masters': good for the entire family

By Allen Crossett
Recorder Community Newspapers

If the servant Truffaldino had been served his dinner at a reasonable time, the story might never have happened. But there were delays, and his hunger grew, and when he saw the chance to acquire a second master with a second income and a doubled chance for a satisfying meal he jumped at the chance.

Or, as is the case with this clever servant, he cartwheeled at the chance. Truffaldinos physical dexterity is as deft as his talent for making up incredible excuses whenever he finds himself not always knowing which master he is serving. Read more.

'The Servant of Two Masters'
The comedy is fast, furious, and outrageously over the top

By Bob Brown

FOR its comedy under the stars series this season, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has chosen a farce whose broad laughs are as big as all outdoors. Its production of Carlo Goldoni's 1734 play makes maximum use of the unique amphitheater at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown. If you haven't been to this venue, it's worth a trip just for the experience. Actors can appear from just about anywhere, and exit just about anywhere as well. They even get into the audience space.

Goldoni's play lends itself to this free and easy treatment, because its characters speak directly to the audience almost as much as to each other. The aside is elevated to something of an art form here. The Venetian Goldoni wrote in the tradition of the Commedia dell'arte, which was most often improvised, since it was based on a set of stock character types who could be mixed in a number of combinations. Read more.

Shakespeare Theatre's "Servant" perfect under the stars

By Liz Keill
The Independent Press

Ah! Shakespeare under the stars. But this time around, it's Goldoni under the moon. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey makes its annual appearance at the amphitheater on the College of St. Elizabeth campus.

This romp from the 1700s by Carlo Goldoni seems much like the Italian version of Moliere. The setting is Venice where Beatrice has arrived disguised as her dead brother. presumably to woo Clarice and attain some monies owed to him. Beatrice is in love with Florindo, who has followed her to the home of Pantalone. It seems Pantalone's daughter, Clarice, was to marry Beatrice's brother. Learning that he is dead, she is now pledged to Silvio. Read more.

'The Servant of Two Masters' goes outdoors, and gets giggles

By Peter Filichia
The Star-Ledger

Midway through the first act of "The Servant of Two Masters," the frustrated Truffaldino whines that he's suffering from "boredom and starvation." Theatergoers won't have the same complaint at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's production.

First off, Carlo Goldoni's comedy is playing on the Outdoor Stage at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, which lends itself to pre-show picnicking. So starvation won't be an issue for the many theatergoers who decide to eat on-site before the fashionably late showtime of 8:15 p.m. Read more.


Shakespeare Theatre brings comedy classic outdoors

By William Westhoven
The Daily Record

Remember to pack some extra goodies in your picnic basket if you're planning to attend the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's annual outdoor production at the College of St. Elizabeth in Florham Park.

Jeffrey M. Bender, one of the stars of "The Servant of Two Masters," likes to snack while he works there.

"It's not my first time there, and I love it," said Bender, who starred on the college's magnificent Greek Theatre stage in 2008 in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)." "I like having the audience right there to react to, and I especially like to steal their food." Read more.

'The Servant of Two Masters' revived in Morris Township

By Peter Filichia
The Star Ledger

This is the time of year when Jeffrey M. Bender often consults

It isnt the heat or the humidity that concerns the actor. As has been the case with many summer days during his adult life, Bender worries about rain.

Granted, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, Into each life, a little rain must fall. Bender, though, has always hoped for the minimum amount, because hes spent an inordinate amount of time acting outdoors. Read more.