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Der gefühlvolle Kerkermeister

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Der gefühlvolle Kerkermeister
oder Adelheid, die verfolgte Wittib

The Sensitive Jailer
or Adelheid the Persecuted Widow

A farce parody in 2 acts
by Johann Nestroy
Premiere: Vienna, 7 March 1832.

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Krotto der Kleine, star king
Berengario, an evil wizard
Adelheid, the widow of Pfundars, the former owner of the enchanted castle.
Bubino, her six year old son
G’schicktus, Krotto’s messenger
Seelengutino, jailer of the dungeons of the enchanted castle
Dalkopatscho, his son
Flegelino, porter of the enchanted castle
Sputzifurino, Berengario’s trusted intimate
[Pantoffel,] a farmer
Tradi, his wife
Glachelio, a bridegroom
Schatzeline, his bride
Mehlisacko, a miller
Gareissl, a young fisherman
Pumpfo, a farmer
four hired murderers

The action takes place in an unspecified location in the year x.

Adelheid is deeply upset at the death of her husband – the more so as she is under siege from his murderer, Berengario, who is trying to force her to marry him. Discovering the star king Krotto’s attempts to helo Adelheid, Berengario swears to go to war with him. Berengario has Adelheid thrown into prison, along with her son Bubino. The guard of the dungeons appears to be loyal to Berengario to his face, but when he has gone, promises Adelheid he will do his best to protect her and her son. Despite Berengario sending murderers to do away with Adelheid, they manage to escape. Berengario soon realises that they have gone and sets off in pursuit. Adelheid and Bubino are given succour and a hiding place in a village which is celebrating a wedding. Once they have discovered who is among them, most of the villagers are loyal, but one, Pumpfo, is tempted by Berengario’s offer of a reward, and betrays Adelheid to him. However she once again manages to escape, just in time. Although Berengario and his followers are hindered by a host of huge crabs, they do catch up with Adelheid and her jailers turned protectors. Just when Berengario is about to give the order for them to be killed though, Krotto appears on a golden ship, and makes the unrepentant Berengario sink into the ground, along with his followers. Full of joy at her release, Adelheid agrees to marry King Krotto, much to the chagrin of the jailer’s son, who thought he was in with a chance with her, having helped rescue her.


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