Forget everything you know about history. The Department of Fools takes you on a wild comic journey through the past, setting the record straight. Enjoy the masked mayhem of commedia dell'arte! More…
Commedia dell'arte is the great-granddaddy of modern improv and sketch comedy. Filled with physical humor, acrobatics, song, and satire, 'A History of Servitude' is a comic survey of world history from the dawn of man to the present as told from the perspective of the underdog.
"The actors manage to seamlessly mix heavy physical comedy, dark witty banter, and a 'Weekend at Bernie’s' schtick...In a peak example of how thoughtful this cast is about its comedy, a song about women in history is spearheaded by the ensemble’s three female actors...This show serves as a guidebook of how to do politically correct comedy. Go see 'A History of Servitude' for the cast, the laughs, the political commentary, and the balloons." Full Review
"The masks in 'A History of Servitude' are wonderfully grotesque and are used well by the cast...Another feature of commedia is improvisation, which the cast does to varying degrees of success...'A History of Servitude' provides an interesting blend of commedia dell’arte and modern street theatre with its mix of broad comedy, improv and mask work." Full Review
for a previous production "You haven't really experienced the Fringe until you've experienced Fringe Al Fresco. And it was my great good luck to catch one of these free outdoor events, 'A History of Servitude'…This piece is often crude-but not in an offensive way…The performers are enthusiastic and the grotesque masks they wear speak volumes…It’s a breath of fresh air (you can take that in the literal sense here) and a rich celebration of Commedia dell'Arte." Full Review
for a previous production "Commedia relies on cartoonish, archetypal characters (denoted by different masks and physicalities) to create partially scripted, partially improvised scenarios. Subtlety be banished! This style is about big physical choices and ham-fisted one-liners, so if it’s a light touch you crave, this show may not be for you...As with any comedy show, not every bit hits equally as hard...The cast plays wonderfully together and cultivates a genuine sense of fun amidst all of the theatrical conventions." Full Review
for a previous production "A mess. And not the good, rock-your-mind kind; the painfully boring and unfunny kind...The show is rooted in improvisations. But it’s played as if it’s not only still in development, but at the very beginning stages of scripting. Writing this kind of review is the most painful part of a critic’s job, but when a show misses the mark on every level–timing, writing, meaningful resonance with its sources–there’s nothing to do but tell it as I see it." Full Review
See it if if you enjoy standup/improv - this is really a series of thematically connected skits rather than a play.
Don't see it if you expect anything other than mild entertainment. Having a few drinks before the show is pretty much required to enjoy it.
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