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Das Verlobungsfest im Feenreiche

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Das Verlobungsfest im Feenreiche
The Engagement Party in the Fairy Kingdom

A magical farce in 3 acts
By Johann Nestroy
Never performed

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Supranaturalis, Lord of the Fairy Realm
Tranquillus, a magician,
Narcissus, his nephew, distant relatives of Supranaturalis
Regina, a rich fairy
Selinde, her niece
Floretta, a nymph
Schladriwuxerl, a genie, both in the service of the fairy
Spiritus, in the service of Supranaturalis
Christoph Schlagmayer, tax collector in Kobelsbach
Crescentia, his wife
Eduard, their son
Zettermann, a tanner, brother to Crescentia
Kupferberg, a notary
Herr von Hirschwald, head forester
Susanne, maid to Schlagmayr
Schladriwux, a signalman in Kobelsbach
Mamsell Regin
Nanett, her maid
Herr von Steinthal, a rich landowner
Frau von Steinthal, his wife
Miller, manager of the Steinthal estate
Amalie, his daughter
Captain Brand
Two porters, a boy, two coachmen

The action takes place partly in the fairy kingdom, and partly on earth in the town of Kobelsbach and on the Steinthal estate.

Act 1. [Chorus of nymphs] – The entire fairy kingdom has assembled to celebrate the engagement of Regina with Tranquillus and Selind with Narcissus. – [Song, Schladriwuxerl: "I am, though I say it myself"] – Floretta the nymph has hopes of marrying the genie Schladriwuxerl. He explains that he doesn't mind getting engaged, since a promise is only a promise, but he doesn't want to be married until he is old, and then to a young nymph. – [Chorus of nymphs and spirits] – Supranaturalis appears, so the celebrations may begin, but to general dismay Regina announces that she has reservations about her betrothed. Against Supranaturalis' advice that marriage partners should be roughly the same age, Regina is determined to wed the much younger Narcissus. She is convinced she can win and retain a young man's affections. Schladriwuxerl is equally confident that in old age he can win the heart of a young woman. Supranaturalis decides to test this by sending Regina and Schladriwuxerl to earth as human beings, Madam Regin and Schladriwux. If they are successful they may marry as they wish in the fairy kingdom. If they fail in their goals, Regina must marry Tranquillus and Schladriwuxerl Floretta as planned, in accordance with the "equivalence of ages". – [Chorus of nymphs and spirits]. – The remaining scenes take place on earth. The tax collector Christoph Schlagmayer and his wife Crescentia discover to their horror that 1,000 guilders in collected taxes, that were to be delivered next day, have been stolen from their house. To their immense relief, their neighbour Madame Regin offers to lend them a thousand guilders. However, in return she asks for the hand of their absent son Eduard in marriage. In their predicament, the parents gladly agree, though Crescentia's brother Zettermann voices the suspicion that Madam Regin may have stolen the money herself to engineer the marriage. The returning Eduard accedes to his parents' wishes, but is horrified at the sight of his much older bride. Nonetheless, the wedding is scheduled for a year ahead when Eduard will have finished his studies. The couple sign a pre-nuptial contract and Christoph signs an I.O.U. for the money. – [Chorus]


Act 2. [Chorus of servants] – Eduard is staying at the mansion of Herr von Steinthal with Schladriwux, who has accompanied him from Kobelsbach. Eduard has fallen in love with Amalie, the bailiff's daughter, but cannot marry her because of his contract with Madam Regin. Meanwhile Schladriwux finds himself so irresistible that he thinks all young women, including Amalia, are hopelessly in love with him. When Amalie refuses him and runs away he interprets it as a sign of repressed passion. Herr von Steinthal, Captain Brand and the estate manager Miller, on being informed of Eduard's pre-nuptial contract, decide to help him, and begin by tricking Schladriwux into leaving the village so that he cannot report what happens back to Kobelsbach.

Act 3. One year later Eduard is expected back home by his parents and Madam Regin, who expect him to take up the post of the deceased bailiff which has been obtained for him on Madam Regin's recommendation. Madam Regin is being assiduously courted by a man called Schwarz, but she repels his advances, as she considers Eduard to be the more pliable husband. Eduard returns home, but to the horror of Madam Regin and his parents he is a completely changed man: though he never used to drink, he now travels with his own wine cellar; though he never smoked, he now owns a complete set of pipes, not to mention firearms and hunting dogs. This previously reserved young man now makes a rather boorish impression. He explains that, as Madam Regin is bound by their contract, he can behave to her as he likes.
Insulted by Eduard's attitude, Madam Regin summons Schwarz and promises to marry him and get him the bailiff's job intended for Eduard. Eduard then challenges Schwarz to a duel. To put a stop to this, Madam Regin tears up the marriage contract, but Eduard reminds her of the second copy in his possession and of the loan of 1,000 guilders. Regin sends Christoph a letter, returning the I.O.U. and admitting that she engineered the theft to force a marriage with Eduard, but now wishes to have the marriage annulled.
Herr and Frau von Steinthal and Miller the bailiff now arrive with Amalie. Eduard presents Amalie as his bride and explains to his astonished parents that he already has a post as estate mannager in Steinthal. When Madam Regin tries to announce her engagement to the gentleman known as Schwarz, he reveals himself to be von Steinthal's son and explains that he feigned love for Madam Regin in order to help Eduard. The two families travel to Steinthal, leaving Schladriwux and Madam Regin behind to cope with their disappointment.
Back in the fairy kingdom, Regina and Schladriwuxerl admit that Supranaturalis was right to insist on the principle of "similarity of ages“. The fairy kingdom now celebrates a triple engagement: Regina and Tranquillus, Selind and Narcissus and Floretta and Schladriwuxerl are joined in matrimony. – [Finale].


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