will den Prophet’n seh’n
A Farce with songs in 3 Acts
Scene: Madame Rosenblüh’s hotel in a small provincial town.
Act 1. Madam Rosenblüh's hotel is booked out because Meyerbeer's
opera "The Prophet" is being performed at the local theatre.
The Mayor, Knollich, warns the proprietress to watch out for a gang of
thieves that has been seen hanging about town and is led by a "robber
genius" against whom she must be particularly on her guard, a man
currently operating under the name "Müller". He tells
her that police headquarters have put an experienced officer on the
case who will shortly check into the hotel in the hope of arresting
Act 2. Sitzmeyer is worried by talk of thieves, but Madam Rosenblüh reassures him that there is a policeman in the hotel. The hysterical Glanzbach family then pester him to use his influence with the Mayor to get them best seats for the opera. To cap it all, he discovers he will have to share his room with Eduard, who gets rid of the Glanzbachs and makes himself comfortable on the sofa, which he pushes against the door as it cannot be locked. This hardly reassures Sitzmeyer as it means he cannot get out and a thief can climb in the window. His hopes of a good night's sleep evaporate when Eduard pulls out a dagger and jokingly refers to himself as "Müller". Sitzmeyer lies anxiously in his bed while Eduard thinks of Gabriele, whom he suspects of chasing after a tenor in the opera. When he thinks Sitzmeyer is fast asleep he removes his wig and false beard. But Sitzmeyer sees him do it and immediately tries to flee. Eduard assures him that he is not a murderer, but simply a man in search of his fiancee, but Sitzmeyer is convinced he is sharing a room with a real life robber. When Eduard is asleep he climbs out the window with his diamonds, only to meet Rollberg coming up the other way. He is relieved to meet a policeman and alerts him to the rascal asleep on the sofa. Rollberg generously offers to take care of the diamonds but Sitzmeyer prefers to give them to Madam Rosenblüh.
Act 3. Not surprisingly, everyone is
convinced next morning that the man in the wig and false beard
is the ringleader of the gang.
to be arrested as soon as he returns from his walk. Meanwhile
Friedrich is interrogated. Rollberg relieves him of the 6 ducats,
may be needed as evidence. Sitzmeyer now claims that his wallet
has been stolen. Eduard returns from his walk and is interrogated
Rollberg and Knollich. He is found to have Sitzmeyer's wallet,
which he claims
to have found on the floor. When the suspect gives his name
Braun", the confusion is complete. Rollberg takes charge
of the wallet and Eduard's valuables and orders both Eduard Brauns
to be detained
in their hotel rooms until the opera performance is over. Just
as they are about to set off to the theatre, another guest walks
into the hotel
and announces himself as police inspector Rollberg. He explains
that he was taken ill en route and spent the night in Eisenquell,
thief stole his money and identity papers. The other Rollberg
doesn't turn a hair, but coolly suggests that as he is Rollberg,
must be Müller, the thieves' ringleader. When Madam Rosenblüh
goes to fetch the papers he had given her for safekeeping, she
discovers that someone has tried to break into her bureau. The
thief is caught.
It is Maus, a member of the gang. He is interrogated by the assembled
party and testifies that the newcomer is indeed his fellow thief,
while the other man he recognizes as police inspector Rollberg.
Both Rollbergs protest their innocence, but at that moment Gabriele
and Eduard recognizes her behind the disguise. He immediately
removes his own wig and beard and declares that he is not Eduard
Braun, but an
imposter. Knollich is about to have him arrested, but is puzzled
when the other Eduard Braun protests that, on the contrary, he
is the imposter,
and then faints, and is tenderly borne from the room by the other
Eduard Braun and the newcomer accused of being Müller. Nanett
is now forced to explain. She can testify that the three people
in question are Eduard
Braun, his fiance Gabriele Rollberg, and her father police inspector
Rollberg. Falk, alias Müller, who has successfully impersonated
a policeman until the real one arrived, now has to think quickly
to avoid arrest. He takes the Mayor aside, apologises for the
deception, and explains
that he is really the composer Meyerbeer and had travelled to
this town incognito to see the performance of his opera. Knollich
not to reveal this stupendous piece of news until after the performance,
and insists on taking the composer to the opera as his guest.
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