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Theater Preview: ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ is a classic British farce

September 9, 2013
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Published in Metro

It’s not the plot that makes “One Man, Two Guvnors” appealing, says director Spiro Veloudos. It’s the characters.

“Two people are in love with each other. One person is supposed to marry somebody else. There’s money involved. A servant takes advantage of the situation,” explains Veloudos, Lyric Stage’s artistic director. “The plot itself is pretty sketchy. The characters are what really make the play fun.”

British playwright Richar Bean’s work is an adaptation of “The Servant of Two Masters,” an eighteenth-century commedia dell’arte-style play by Carlo Goldoni.

“Commedia dell’arte was in and of itself a comedy of farcical characters,” says Veloudos. “This play takes these commedia characters and puts them in the context of 1963 England.”

The show has all the typical attributes of a British comedy, both the absurdity and the silliness, says the director. Think ridiculous disguises, clowns, songs and a bit of slapstick. There’s also some improv and audience participation — also a commedia tradition.

“It’s a secret,” says Veloudos, when asked about the audience interaction. “I don’t want to give it away.”

Shop Talk

Brush up on your British slang before you see One Man, Two Guvnors. Bollocks means “no good.” Rozzer is “the police.” Nut means “head butt.” All of these terms make the play’s script.

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