Farce with songs in
takes place in a small market town and in the adjoining castle.
Act 2 scene 01–09: a room
Act 1. Howart
is the new lord of the manor, and before taking up official residence,
he decides to pay and anonymous visit to his new home,
to have a look
at his property and the people living there. Krall, Schnell, Puff,
Fint und Kniff have heard about this, and have devised a plan to
in the inn. Howart has barely dropped off to sleep, when they climb
in at his window, waking him. Before he can call for help, Puff threatens
him with a knife. However nobody is expecting Faden, who is sleepwalking,
to appear at the window, which shocks Schnell so much he lets out
scream. The crooks quickly escape, but not long after the innkeeper
reports that they have been captured. To Howart’s delight,
his beloved Malvina arrives, accompanied by her father, Lord Wathfield.
them of the danger from which the sleepwalker rescued him, and how
he would like to make his rescuer happy, as a sign of his gratitude.
suggests that although he can reward him, that all of his wealth
not ensure happiness. Convinced he will win, Howart bets Lord Wathfield
that he can make the sleepwalker completely happy, claiming he will
not marry Malvina until he has achieved this [Song: Strick].
Act 2. [Chorus] Faden wishes for one thing after another, without ever actually ever wishing for anything excessive. The sudden wealth of her bridegroom unnerves Emilie, but Brauchengeld insists on the wedding. Nevertheless Emilie makes it clear that she is extremely displeased at having to live in a small house rather than a palace. Strick boasts to Theres, that he and Faden have access to an “inexhaustible source of wealth”, which can fulfil all wishes. Hearing of this, Emilie insists to Faden that he should buy the manor house. Shocked, Faden points out how small his income is, but Emilie threatens to pine away and die from worry otherwise. Eventually Faden gives in, although he is afraid of how the ‘spirits’ will react. At first, Howart wants to refuse this wish, but Wathfield reminds him of his word. [Song: Strick]. Emilie and Faden take over the manor house. Howart is beginning to feel that his bet comes at too high a price, but Wathfield reminds him he won’t be marrying Malvina until Faden demands the superfluous. Faden arranges a large party for that evening. Pumpf receives 500 Gulden from Faden, and tries to make it up with Strick. Hannerl continues to pretest her innocence, but although Pumpf reveals her to have an inheritance of several thousand Gulden, Strick isn’t interested. [Song: Hannerl, Theres, Strick. Chorus of the guests]. During the meal, Faden takes a violent dislike to Wathfield’s hairstyle, and demands he changes it – finally a wish for the superfluous. Howart had already prepared his servants for this eventuality, and they appear like furies from all sides, stripping Faden and Strick of their fine clothes and chasing them out of the house. [Chorus]. Having lost their lovers, Babette and Hannerl are as unhappy as ever, and extremely surprised to see Faden and Strick wandering the streets in their old suits again. Apart from the loss of his riches, it particularly upsets Faden that Emilie won’t marry him now that he is poor again. He and Strick have just 30 Gulden between them, and Faden decides to take his life the following day, saying Brauchengeld can keep the money Faden acquired for him, meaning Emilie and Geyer are now free to marry. Malvina forgives Howart for staking her future happiness on so foolish a game. Geyer is about to arrest Wathfield thinking he is Faden, when Faden, sleepwalking, climbs through the window and reveals how he came to be in Hannerl’s bedroom. Overjoyed, Babette takes her beloved in her arms. Strick also appears, sleepwalking, and after some confusion awakes, realising that he did Hannerl wrong by not believing her protestations of innocence. Howart and Wachfield reveal their true identities, and give Faden the small house he lost through greed for the manor. [Final song: Strick and Chorus].
The Plays of Johann Nestroy. A directory of synopses prepared by Julian Forsyth & Zoe Svenson.
Funded by the Austrian Cultural Forum and Arts Council England. © Moving Theatre 2004