1) Although the name of the genre sounds highbrow, commedia dell’arte is a form of comic theater that features wacky physical humor, lots of joking about sex and body parts, and the relentless jagging of pomposity, social conventions, etc. Very popular in Italy and elsewhere from the 1500s through the 1700s, commedia dell’arte is performed today mainly as a small-audience cult attraction, not in major revivals. There’s little to work from in the way of old scripts because the creators of the form were early improv artists, creating entire shows around a set of stock characters they’d invented. But a commedia-inspired play from the mid-1700s has survived that captures the flavor of this kind of comedy: Carlo Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters.
The play was staged hilariously at Carnegie Mellon a few years ago, and now Pittsburgh Public Theater is taking it on. The Public’s version, titled A Servant to Two Masters, was translated and adapted by the English dramatist Lee Hall. As in Goldoni’s original, the action revolves around the servant Truffaldino as he tries to satisfy not only two employers but also two appetites, his lust for food and for you-know-what else. 8 p.m. Continues through December 6. At the O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (MV)
2) Titanic – To this day I still can’t believe I sat through this whole thing when it opened in 1997. It was three hours long … and I already knew how it ended! A big ship sets sail and a few days later hits an iceberg and sinks. It’s the in-between part that froze my brain since director/writer James Cameron sticks a soap opera in the middle of it. In performances that made them international stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play passengers who meet on-board. He’s poor and she’s rich (and engaged) but they fall in love anyway. Meanwhile Billy Zane, as Kate’s fiancé, is hoppin’ mad at Leo … leading to my favorite scene in the movie: Water is gushing in through every porthole and the ship is moments away from meeting the ocean floor – but there’s Zane running around with a gun trying to shoot Leo. “Billy, chill out … the problem’s gonna take care of itself.” It’s lunacy like this scene (and many others) that’ll really have you rooting for the iceberg. Today’s viewing is a Rifftrax showing with comedic commentary running throughout the film from the crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Sounds like a blast unless you were one of the girls who saw the movie 17 times when it first came out. 9:20 p.m. Row House Cinema, 4115 Butler St., Lawrenceville. (TH)
3) The Pens face off against the Edmonton Oilers in a 7 p.m. game tonight at the Consol Energy Center. There is a reported riff between team owner Mario Lemieux and all-star center Sidney Crosby although the Pens are denying it. Let’s hope the team moves forward in a strong positive direction. The Pens then travel to San Jose to play the Sharks on Tuesday. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.