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Abendwind oder Das gräuliche Festmahl
Scene: An island in the South Seas
Abendwind (lit. Evening Wind) is awaiting the visit of Biberhahn,
chief of the Papatutu, in whose honour a feast is to be given. But
the Great-Lulus haven’t had much luck hunting recently.
even have any prisoners they could serve up for dinner. – [Romance,
Atala: “Go to sleep, sweet child, let the rustling leaves give
you sweet dreams”] – Arthur, a hairdresser, is admiring
the splendid scenery of the island when he happens to bump into Atala. – [Duet
Arthur, Atala] – Arthur hopes to impress Atala with his professional
skill. When this doesn’t succeed, he shows her a musical watch
that he wears on a chain, and she likes the sound of it. A trusting
Arthur tells Atala his life story: he knows neither his parents nor
was born. He was brought up by a foster father and trained as a hairdresser.
A few weeks ago his foster father instructed him to visit a certain
South Sea island to learn about his origins. But his ship was wrecked
island of the Great Lulu and he was washed ashore. Atala and Arthur
are strangely drawn to each other, and Arthur decides to remain on
for ever. But Atala warns him about the native laws according to which
they could both be sentenced to death. She begs Arthur to hide. – Meanwhile
Abendwind is increasingly embarrassed at having nothing for his guest
to eat and worried this will damage his alliance with the Papatutu.
Arthur recklessly emerges from his hiding place, thinking Abendwind
is harmless. – [Trio
Abendwind, Atala, Arthur] – Abendwind is delighted that this
stranger has shown up to save the feast. Atala and Arthur misinterpret
humour and Arthur decides to ask for Atala’s hand in marriage
immediately after supper.
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