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Die Gleichheit der Jahre

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Die Gleichheit der Jahre
The Equivalence of Ages

A local farce in 4 acts
By Johann Nestroy
Premiere: 8th October 1834

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Herr von Hirschwald, head forester in Kobelsbach
Ursula, his housekeeper
Mamsell Regina Geldkatz, a wealthy woman
Madam Tritschtratsch,
Madam Plappermühl,
Madam Redhaus, citizens of Kobelsbach
Schladriwux, a furniture maker in Kobelsbach
A messenger

Miller, Herr von Steinthal's estate manager
Amalie, Miller's daughter
Fest, village magistrate
Schlag, village watchman
Geißl, a country coachman
Christoph Stritzl, tax collector in Kobelsbach
Crescentia, his wife
Eduard, their son
Zettermann, a tanner, Crescentia's brother
Nanett, Mamsell Regin's maid
Susanne, maid in the service of the tax collector
Kupferberg, a notary
Herr von Steinthal, a wealthy landowner
Frau von Steinthal, his wife
Captain Brand, a relation of Frau von Steinthal
Corporal Sturm
Margareth, maid to Miller
Hans, Jacob, farmhands, Lise, Hannchen, farmgirls, all on the Steinthal estate
4 porters, a boy, 2 coachmen, countryfolk, soldiers, farmers
Steffel, a waiter
Gentlefolk of Kobelsbach, Servants and hunters on the Steinthal estate

Act 1. The action takes place in the town of Kobelsbach and a village one mile away
Act 2. Kobelsbach
Act 3. The Steinthal estate.
Act 4. Kobelsbach one year later.

Act 1. [Chorus of women] – Regin is celebrating her birthday, supposedly her 29th. Hirschwald, 50 years old, proposes marriage, but she rejects him because of his advanced years. Schladriwux, also 50, refuses to marry Ursula, since being the same age as him he thinks her far too old. Thanks to a birth certificate anonymously sent to Regin by Hirschwald, the guests at the birthday party learn that it is actually her 50th birthday. As he believes the similarity in their ages is a good basis for marriage, he renews his proposal, but she still rejects him. Finally a contract is drawn up: should Regin and Schladriwux fail to win much younger marriage partners within one year, they will agree to marry Hirschwald and Ursula. - [Chorus of women] - [Chorus of peasants] - Not far from his home town of Kobelsbach, Eduard is trying to avoid paying a coachman's fare, but in attempting to escape he runs straight into Miller. After much brouhaha with the coachman, it turns out Miller was actually looking for Eduard, in order to escort him to the estate of his master Herr von Steinthal, who wishes to thank him for nursing his son through a serious illness. Miller pays Eduard's coach fare. - [Chorus of peasants].

Act 2. Kobelsbach. This act corresponds almost exactly to the first act of "Verlobungsfest im Feenreich" (Engagement in the Fairy Kingdom), with a plot involving the stolen taxes and Eduard's contract with Regin.


Act 3. The Steinthal estate. Similar to Act 2 of "Verlobungsfest", except that Eduard, before falling in love with Amalie, pays court to various farmers' daughters, so that her father Miller, prompted by Herr and Frau von Steinthal, only agrees to his daughter marrying Eduard if the young man will take a year to "sort himself out" before marriage. As in the other play, Schladriwux is dispatched through a trick and the Steinthals promise to help Eduard extricate himself from the marriage contract with Regin.

Act 4. The beginning of this act corresponds to the beginning of Act 3 of "Verlobungsfest im Feenreich". Eduard returns home completely changed, and convinces Regin and his parents that he is the leader of a band of highwaymen. - [Chorus] - Eduard has Schladriwux and Regin kidnapped by his "band of highwaymen", though Schladriwux manages to escape disguised as Cupid. Regin promises marriage and the post of estate manager to Schwarz if he will save her. Eduard arrives and challenges Schwarz to a duel, as the annulment of his contract with Regin would not release his father from the 1,000 guilder debt. Regin admits having stolen the money herself to engineer the marriage to Eduard. She is ready to renounce Eduard and marry Schwarz. The arrival of Steinthal, Miller, Amalie, Hirschwald and Ursula hastens the happy ending. Schwarz reveals himself to be Steinthal's son, and Eduard admits he was never a highwayman. He is made Steinthal's estate manager and will marry Amalie. Hirschwald and Ursula remind their partners of their contractual obligations and Regin and Schladriwux, seemingly willingly, agree to marry them.


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