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Die Zauberreise in die Ritterzeit

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Die Zauberreise in die Ritterzeit
oder Die Obermütigen

The Magic Journey into the Days of the Knights
or The Exuberant Ones

Farce Parody in 3 Acts, with a prologue: present and past
By Johann Nestroy
Premiere: Vienna 20 October 1832.

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Die Gegenwart, [the present] a powerful fairy
die Zukunft, a child not yet of age
Die Vergangenheit, [the past] fairy and mother of the present
Furiosus, Morosus, subservient spirits of the fairy of the present
Polycarpus Sapprawalt, a rich gentleman of private means
Eulalie, his daughter
Simplicius Sapprawalt, his nephew
Lady von Dukatenstein, a rich lady, sister-in-law to Sapprawalt
Petronella, her daughter
Herr von Geldsack, Lady von Dukatenstein’s nephew
Miss Gicks
Sir von Scherwenzl
Miss Blond
Miss Duft
Miss Spitz
Sir von Scharf
Miss von Haubenband, widow
Fräulein Giraff
Bernhard, Servants at Sapprawalt’s
Ottomar von Eisenfels, a young knight
Knight Blasius von Humpenberg
Kunigunde, his daughter
Bertram, castellan at Humpenberg’s
Kuno von Doppelschwerdt
His wife
Hildegardis von Tiefenstein, his sister
Knight Eichenwald, Kunigunden’s fiancé
Knight Kleeberg, his Friend
Ritter Fust von Stein
Veit, his servant
A guard of a dungeon
Ball guests, servants, spirits, nymphs, knights, etc.

[Chorus]. Lady von Dukatenstein (the name means ‘ducat-stone’ in German) her nephew Geldsack (the name means ‘money bag’) go to see the fairy of the present, emerging from a six foot high letter. They ask the fairy of the present for help, because the folly of the family Sapprawalt is putting the spanner in the works of two marriages which have been arranged between Lady von Dukatenstein’s daughter Petronella and Simplicus Sapprawalt, and Geldsack and Eulalie Sapprawalt. The book of truth reveals that the family is convinced that the present has nothing to offer compared to the past – and indeed, Eulalie spends all her time reading novels about knights and feudal times. The fairy of the present decides to teach them a lesson by showing them what the past is really like. After a ball she places a spell on Eulalie, Simplicus and their father Polycarpus, sending them back in time to feudal times.

[Chorus]. Geldsack has also been sent back in time, as he requested, but is disappointed to discover that Eulalie treats him just as badly as she did in the present. [song]. At first the family Sapprawalt enjoy living in feudal times. Ottomar the robber baron, asks for Eulalie’s hand in marriage, and to Eulalie’s joy, Polycarpus readily agrees, forgetting Geldsack’s claim. However the marriage doesn’t turn out as Eulalie had imagined – instead of fine clothes and feasting, Ottomar insists she concentrate solely on the housekeeping. On discovering Geldsack’s attempts to get close to Eulalie, Ottomar throws him into the dungeon – in spite of the money Geldsack offers him. Meanwhile Polycarpus and Simplicus win a tournament through the machinations of the fairy of the present, who is intending to teach them a lesson. On winning, they try to seduce the ladies handing out the prizes, bringing the wrath of the knights on their heads. Polycarpus and Simplicus do not understand the rituals of feudal times and end up being thrown into the same dungeon as Simplicus, where they are left to starve. All attempts to bribe the guard come to nothing, as he points out that he’s been promised their money when they die anyway. Finally Polycarpus and Simplicus realise the error of their ways, and the fairy of the present returns them all to the present. Delighted, Eulalie promises never to treat Geldsack badly again, and Simplicus is glad to marry Petronella. [Final song]


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