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Der Treulose

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Der Treulose
oder Saat und Ernte

Lacking in Loyalty
or Sowing and Reaping

Morality Play
Written 1836, first produced in Vienna, May 1936.

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Lord von Falsch
Treuhold, his servant
von Solming,
Blum, his friends
Frau von Hilmers
Hermine, her daughters
Herr von Tafelberg,
Caroline, his daughters
Herr von Walter, landowner
Frau von Walter
Ernestine, their daughters
Firner, a financial advisor
Resi, his daughters
Na[n]nett, Lady von Hilmer’s chamber maid
Peppi, café visitor
The Innkeeper at Buchenstein
His wife

Kathi, their child
A maid from the Firmer household

Georg, Lord von Falsch’s servant
Ladies and gentlemen

Grün, forester
Fritz, his son
Veit, gardener for the castle of Buchenstein
The Buchenstein village judge

Regina Muff, housekeeper
Hellbach, a relative of Falsch’s
Solming and Falschs’ servants

Marie, Lady von Solming
Amalie, their daughter
Treuhold, Castle inspector
Nan[n]ett, his wife
People from the village, huntsmen and others

The action of the second act takes place about two months after the first act. The action of the section half takes place about 25 years later.

Act 1. [Chorus. Song: Falsch]. Falsch (the name means ‘false’) makes overtures to many women, whilst his servant Treuhold (the name means ‘true’ or ‘faithful’) loves Nannett alone – even though she continually suspects him of being unfaithful. Falsch promises to help Treuhold to convince Nannette of his true love. He makes various arrangements to meet both Caroline and Hermine at different times. [Song: Nannett]. Solming confesses to Marie that he loves her. Falsch deliberately maligns Hermine to Ida, and arranges to meet her at the same place he arranged to meet his other ladies (but at a different time). By chance Falsch saves Lord and Lady von Walter and her daughter Ernestine from a coach accident. He doesn’t hesitate in making advances to Ernestine, and makes up his mind to marry her. He gives Treuhold the task of ensuring he can meet in private with his lover at 9 pm, promising to win over Nannette for him as a reward. So that Falsch won’t forget his promise, Treuhold explains his task and Falsch’s problems to all the ladies he meets, each of whom naturally thinks that she is the intended recipient of the message. He also tells Lord von Walter of the meeting, and for a small reward shows him where he can hide himself. Meanwhile Ida, Caroline and Hermine bump into one another at the arranged meeting place. On realising that Falsch is tricking all of them, they are furious, and swear that together they will get their revenge. All three then hide and overhear Falsch and Ernestine declaring their love to one another. Laughing, the three ladies reveal themselves. Ernestine is not happy about marrying someone so disloyal, but Falsch promises her he will improve. Meanwhile others have entered the scene, and Solming and Marie announce their engagement.


Act 2. After a couple of months of marriage, Falsch who welcomes guests continually, seems to have lost all interest in Ernestine. Nannett once again thinks she has good reason to be suspicious about Treuhold’s fidelity, even though he continually protests his innocence. In fact Falsch is entertaining a variety of lovers and is using Treuhold as a go-between. Ernestine talks to Marie about her disappointment in Falsch’s love and about his love affair with Julie. Falsch heaps scorn on Solming for his happy marriage with Marie, ignoring his friend’s warning. Ida, Caroline and Hermine have noticed Ernestine’s misfortune and laugh heartily at her expense. Ida’s song. Ernestine manages to get hold of the key to Falsch’s bureau, and Treuhold, finding her rummaging in it, shows her all the love tokens and letters from Falsch’s love affairs, admitting that Falsch is currently meeting with Julie. To prove that he is not himself having an affair with her, he leads the ever-suspicious Nannett to Falsch and Julie’s secret meeting place, followed, unbeknownst to him, by Ernestine and her father. Ernestine is so upset when she sees them that she faints. Bornfeld, on hearing of this embarrassing affair from Falsch, recommends he get a divorce. Solming tells Falsch that Ernestine’s father intends to take her on a trip to Philadelphia, in search of peace of mind, and warns him not to let her go. Falsch won’t listen to him, even though Solming points out that he can’t expect to reap good by sewing bad. [Chorus]. Treuhold is so disappointed by Falsch’s behaviour that he gives his notice and goes to work for Solming. [Chorus with Falsch].

Part II/ Act 3. [Chorus] Twenty years later, Fritz is in love with Amalie, Solming’s daughter, who is also being pursued by Hellbach, a relative of Falsch’s. Solming won’t hear of a union between Fritz and Amalie, saying Fritz’s income is too small. Over the years, Nannett has overcome her gnawing jealousy, but now Treuhold is himself gripped with envy, certain that she is unfaithful. Solming’s friend Falsch, now a decrepit old man, is coming to visit, after twenty years on the road. It is Solming’s silver wedding anniversary, and he greets his old friend with joy. However, whilst Solming has enjoyed a happy marriage, Falsch’s wife Ernestine died after a couple of years in Philadelphia. Because he has no children of his own, Falsch decides to adopt Hellbach. [Song: Falsch]. Bornfeld entices Treuhold away with tales implicating Nannett with another man, and while Treuhold goes to investigate, steals Falsch’s money coffer. He is caught, and although Falsch is disappointed in his friend, he lets him off. [Chorus]. Fritz confesses to Solming that he fought Hellbach in the inn, because Hellbach spoke badly of Falsch. Falsch however refuses to believe him. Treuhold appears, and tells how he overheard a conversation between Hellbach and Falsch’s servant Regina, in which they talked about ‘the old man’ and ‘his tenacious hold on life’: jealous as ever, Treuhold assumes they are talking about him, and that Hellbach has designs on Nannett. Solming, Treuhold and Falsch then eavesdrop on Regina and Hellbach, and overhear their plans dividing up Falsh’s fortune when he is gone. Treuhold is overjoyed to discover they aren’t referring to him, but Falsch realises that he is quite alone in the world. Solming’s obvious happiness causes him particular sorrow and chagrin. Solming meanwhile has realised that Fritz would make an excellent son-in-law. [Chorus]. Unnoticed by anyone, Falsch sets off again on his travels. He leaves behind a letter making Fritz and Amalie his sole heirs, and finally Solming gives his permission for Fritz and Amalie to be married.


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