by Rita Charleston
“One Man, Two Guvnors” is a play by Richard Bean, an adaptation of “Servant of Two Masters,” a 1743 Commedia del’arte style of comedy play by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni. Presented by Quintessence Theatre, and directed by Troy Lyford, the play continues through June 30.
The plot revolves around Francis Henshall, an out-of-work skittle player (a man who makes a certain style of music) who becomes separately employed by two men – Roscoe Crabbe, a gangster, and Stanley Stubbers, an upper class twit. Francis tries to keep the two men from meeting in order to avoid each of them learning that Francis is also working for someone else. Further complicating matters, Roscoe is really Rachel Crabbe in disguise, pretending to be her own brother, Roscoe. Roscoe was killed by Rachel’s boyfriend, who is none other than Stanley. Further complications arise as Francis pursues his two passions in life: Dolly and food.
Appearing as Dolly is Scranton native Lee Minora, who attended Scranton Preparatory School and headed for Temple University soon afterward to study theater.
“Well, actually I wasn’t sure I would study theater. Even though I loved performing and always thought this is what I wanted to do, I hesitated at first because I was a little nervous about the instability of working in the theater,” she said.
But meeting up with a friend after that first year made up her mind.
“We wrote and developed plays for kids, and that did it. It was so rewarding that from that moment on, I was sure what I wanted to do.”
Minora acknowledges that from the time she was a little girl, she loved pretending and performing.
“I was a very formal child,” she said, “meaning I loved dressing up, even for school. I even loved running around wearing a cape. Maybe some of my friends thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care.”
And so by the time she returned to Temple for her sophomore year, Minora was able to declare theater as her major – and thrilled to do so. She eventually graduated with her B.A. in Theater and decided to stay in Philadelphia for several reasons.
“First of all, I became associated with Found Theatre and was committed to working with them. Then, more and more work began coming my way. And also, there’s such an unbelievable community of theater people here that I no longer gave any thought to leaving.”
Today, at the age of 31, Minora has done work with many area theaters, including Quintessence.
“This time around, working with so many great people is amazing. This play, too, is amazing. In fact, the only difficulty I faced was having to perfect an accent different from all the other characters, and I did that with the help of a dialect coach who worked with me until I got it right. Dolly is from northern England, and no one else is. But it only took about two weeks for me to feel comfortable.”
And when she is not on the stage, Minora feels comfortable doing some teaching, today involved in a two-month residency program delving into “Romeo and Juliet” at various schools around town.
“It’s exciting for me to go to different schools and see how they are operating. The teachers are usually English teachers, and this gives them time away from the usual curriculum and lets them have access to the text in a new way.”
Quintessence is located at 7137 Germantown Ave. For tickets, call 215-987-4450.