4-16 Dec. By Carlo Goldoni, directed by Ferruccio Soleri from Giorgio Strehler, with Ferruccio Soleri.
Giorgio Strehler was the founder (along with Paolo Grassi) and director of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. He is acclaimed by some as the father of modern “commedia”. In 1947 Strehler staged a forgotten Goldoni classic Arlecchino: Servant of Two Masters which would become the longest running play in Italian history, as well as the play that resurrected “commedia” from the rejects of history.
Written in 1745, Goldoni's play marks an intermediate stage in his mission to make the Italian actors of his time take off their masks and turn away from the quasi-improvised “commedia dell'arte”, the conventions of which had by then grown stale. But the post-world war two Italy in which Strehler's Piccolo Teatro di Milano emerged as a major artistic force had enough reality to contend with in the misery of its bombed-out streets.
Accordingly, Strehler created this version staged wholly within the stylised conventions of “commedia”, choreographed down to the smallest syllable. We see at the sides of the stage the actors getting ready to enter, plus the musicians and the "prompter" (who gets caught up in the action when it spills over). Since its first staging Strehler's production has been brought back countless times.