Il Servitore di Due Padroni

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Il Servitore di Due Padroni ("The Servant of Two Masters") is a comedy by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni (1707–1793)[1]

The original text

The first draft (1745/6) and subsequent early drafts had large sections that were reserved for improvisation, but Goldoni revised it in 1753 in the version that exists today.

The play was apparently first performed in Milan in 1749 by the company of Antonio Sacco, for whom it had been written. Early drafts have large sections reserved for improvisation, but the 1753 revision has become the standard text.

Translations and adaptations

The play has been translated and adapted internationally and into various languages numerous times over the centuries.

English translations

The play has often been translated and performed in English, usually under the title Servant of Two Masters (see for example Servant of Two Masters in Wikipedia[2]).

Translated into English as The Servant of Two Masters by Anne Lawrance in 1972/3.

English adaptations

Translated and adapted into English as The Hotel, or The Double Valet, a farce in two acts by Thomas Vaughan (fl. 1772-1820)[], originally performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane in 1776, and published by T. Becket,1776. Vaughan apparently based his play not only on Carlo Goldoni's farce, but also on Arlequin Valet de Deux Maitres, a standard piece from the Italian commedia dell'arte, regularly performed by the Comédie Italienne in Paris.

Vaughan's play was in turn adapted as Two Strings to your Bow, a farce in two acts, by Robert Jephson (1736-1803)[3]. Jephson's version was originally performed in Ireland at Smock Alley under the title The Hotel, or The Servant with Two Masters in 1783 and printed in Cork. It was first performed in London at the Theatres Royal, Covent Garden and the Drury Lane as Two Strings to your Bow in 1791. Printed in London for C. and G. Kearsley,1791. In his study F.C.L. Bosman (1928) wrongly attributes authorship of Two Strings to your Bow to the actor Andrew Cherry, who had played the character "Lazarillo" in the Drury Lane production.

Afrikaans translations

Translated into Afrikaans as Wie de Drommel is Paskwaal? ("Who the heck is Pasquale?") by an unknown translator, and performed by NTO in 1961.

Translated and adapted as Kneg van Twee Meesters ("The servant of two masters") by Ben Dehaeck.

Translated as Wie de Drommel is Paskwaal? Die Kneg van Twee Meesters ("Who the heck is Pasquale? The servant of two masters") by Bennie Janecke and performed and published by PACOFS in 197*.

Performance history in South Africa

1818: Performed as Two Strings to your Bow in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the Garrison Players on 7 November, as a benefit for Mrs Brough, with The Will (Reynolds).

1823: Performed as Two Strings to your Bow by the Amateur Company as a benefit for Mrs Green, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 25 November 1823; with Wild Oats by O'Keeffe.

1824: Performed as Two Strings to your Bow in the African Theatre on 24 July by the Garrison Players, along with John Bull, or an Englishman's Fireside (Colman Jr).

1961-2: Performed in Afrikaans as Wie de Drommel is Paskwaal? by NTO's Cape Town NTO Youth Company, with Jannie Gildenhuys, Cobus Rossouw, Leonora Nel, Irene Durr, Limpie Basson.

1973: Performed in English (the Lawrance translation) as The Servant of Two Masters by the Pretoria Shakespeare Circle, directed by Anne Lawrance, with Basil Petzer, Margaret Savage, David Swanepoel, Anton Harrop Allin, Daphne van der Linden, Jean du Plessis, Bill Dormehl, Roy Moores, Hazel Roberts, Max van Zyl, Peter Oberholzer, James Dalton and Bobbi Thorsen.


Two strings to your bow: a farce, in two acts, as now performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden, with distinguished applause. By Robert Jephson, Esq. at via Accessed on Friday, June 24, 2016.

The hotel: or, the double valet. A farce, in two acts. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. By Thomas Vaughan, Esq. at via Accessed on Thursday, June 23, 2016.

Facsimile version of the 1806 published text by John Cawthorn, Google E-book[4]

David Erskine Baker. 1812. Biographia Dramatica: Or, A Companion to the Playhouse, Volume 2. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown: p. 310 - Google E-book[5]

Asier Altuna Garciá de Salazar. 2008 “Robert Jephson, Anglo-Ireland, A Spanish Lazarillo of Valencia and the farcical recourse to food in Two Strings to Your Bow (1791)” in Odisea No 9. [6]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [7]: pp. 155, 185

Wikipedia [8]

Pretoria Shakespeare Circle theatre programme, 1973.

Grütter, Wilhelm, CAPAB 25 Years, 1987. Unpublished research.)

Danie Botha, "Toneel-oomblikke dekades later steeds onvergeetlik" , Die Burger, 3 January, 2000[9]

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