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Moppels Abentheuer…

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Moppels Abentheuer im Viertel unter Wiener Wald, in Neu-Seeland und Marokko
The Adventures of Moppel in the Vienna Woods, in New Zealand and Morocco.

A Farce in 2 Acts
By Johann Nestroy
Premiere: Vienna, 5 May 1837

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Lord Steolequeastle
Moppel, his servant
Maikäfer, a rich farmer in lower Austria
Peppi, his ward
Brand, village judge
Dachs, Nightwatchman
Müller, herrschaftlicher Verwalter
Blau, clerk at the castle
Balg, farmers
Bölzer, a farmer from upper Austria
Hura, chief of New Zealand
Erilla, his daughter
Mannar, both commanders of the New Zealand warriors
The wise Rumpumbo
Ramram, Governer of Tarindet in Morocco
Zetulbe, his favourite
Hermine, her slave, a European
Halib, Head of the watch
Kurdan, Gardener at Ramram’s palace
An innkeeper
New Zealand savages
Slaves, people

The action takes place partly in Europe, partly in New Zealand, and partly in Africa.

Act 1. [Chorus: farmers] Maikäfer wants to marry his ward, Peppi, off to someone rich – who will be prepared to pay several thousand Gilders for Maikäfer’s consent. Peppi on the other hand is hoping not for a rich husband, but for an interesting one, who has seen something of the world. One day the eccentric Steolequeastle turns up and demands food and a place to stay for the night, and threatens to cause them further trouble. Peppi takes his behaviour as a sign that he is a robber chief – especially as he carries as a pistol and demands a kiss from her, paying for the privilege with a purse of ducats. [Song: Moppel]. Moppel complains of his maltreatment at the hands of Steolequeastle, assuring Peppi that Steolequeastle, far from being a robber, is an Englishman, telling her that they are on a trip round the world. Peppi immediately begins to fall for Moppel – although she has already alerted the judge and the watchman about her strange guests. Taking to the idea of spending the night in prison, Steolequeastle says he really is a murderer and a robber. However the castle steward, Müller recognises Steolequeastle as his masters’ childhood friend. Steolequeastle then decides to continue on his travels straight away – Moppel though has fallen in love with Peppi and therefore doesn’t want to go with him. Peppi returns his feelings, having been led to believe that he is a Scotsman. Moppel asks Maikäfer for Peppi’s hand in marriage, but Maikäfer won’t hear of it, as Moppel has no money. Steolequeastle promises Moppel £2000, if he accompanies him on his three year long world trip. Afraid of this journey, Moppel admits he has never been out of the Vienna woods. As a punishment for his lie, Peppi decrees that he must now go on the trip – and that she will remain faithful to him while he is away.
[Chorus: the warriors] [Chorus: the savages] After a ship wreck, Moppel is washed up onto an island in the pacific ocean. He misreads the natives’ welcome, thinking that they are friendly when in fact they are preparing for his execution, to placate the sinster powers of the sea. Erilla explains his situation to Moppel, and promises to plead with her father, the wise Rumpumbo, on Moppel’s behalf. [Chorus] However the chief, Hura, won’t hear of it. Moppel is on his way to being executed when a ship full of enemies lands – Moppel, along with two others, is kidnapped and brought onto the ship.


Act 2. [Chorus] Moppel is now a slave at the court of the Moroccan king Ramram. Ramram constantly complains of boredom, and has given Moppel the task of providing him with a novel entertainment every day – on pain of death. Originally, Ramram had agreed that he would let Moppel free after a year, but when the time comes, he won’t hear of it. To sweeten Moppel’s imprisonment, Ramram decrees that Moppel should marry his European slave, Hermine. However neither Hermine, who is in love with William, nor Moppel, who hasn’t forgotten Peppi, want to marry. When William, who works as a gardener at the palace, hears of the plan, he decides to help them both escape. He has arranged for a ship to wait for them in the harbour – but escaping the palace seems an impossibility. Zetulbe enters, in a rage. It emerges that she is herself in love with Moppel, and wants him to marry her. Zetulbe isn’t much to look at, but since she says she’d like to escape with him, Moppel pretends to agree to her offer. Zetulbe lets Moppel have the key to an outside gate, and they arrange that Moppel will go on ahead and have a ship prepared, and that when Zetulbe hears a canon shot from the harbour, she will go to the gate and wait for Moppel. So that he won’t be recognised, she gives him some clothes that resemble Ramram’s robes. To placate Ramram, who is demanding his daily entertainment, Moppel tells him that he can expect something special, and that when he hears a canon chot from the harbour that evening, he should go to the gate. [Chorus: Hermine] Moppel, William and Hermine flee through the gate, and make the ship. On hearing the canon shot, both Zetulbe and Ramram go to the gate. Ramram is beside himself with rage, especially when he reads Moppel’s note on the gate, which tells of their flight. [Chorus] Steolequeastle was also washed up on an island, after the shipwreck, thinking himself the only survivor. Months later he was picked up by a ship, and returned to Maikäfer’s village. Each year, on the anniversary of his rescue, he organises a big feast to celebrate. A particularly special celebration has been arranged for this year, as to Steolequeastle’s joy, his long lost son William has returned home. He has brought his bride, and Moppel – who pretends to be the director of the court theatre in Morocco. Moppel is upset to hear that Peppi has gone to a feast. He decides to test her loyalty to him. Steolequeastle promises to shower Moppel with money in


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