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Liebesge-schichten und Heurathssachen

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Liebesgeschichten und Heurathssachen
Love Affairs and Wedding Bells

Farce with songs in 3 Acts
By Johann Nestroy
Premiere: 23 March 1842

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Florian Fett (Fett means ‘fat’), a former butcher
Fanny, his daughter
Ulrike Holm, a distant relative of Mr. Fett’s
Lucia Distl, Mr Fett’s spinster sister-in-law
Anton Buchner, son of a business man
Marquise Vincelli
Alfred, his son
An innkeeper and his wife

Philippine, chamber maid
Heinrich, servants in Mr. Fett’s house
Kling, personal servant to the marquise
Schneck, a coachman
A watchman
Servants, waiters, maids at the inn.

The action takes place in a village some way from the capital. Alfred has fallen in love with Ulrike. Since his father is unlikely to regard her as a suitable bride for his son, Alfred has secretly got himself a job as a clerk, working for Mr. Fett, so he can be near to her. Alfred bumps into his old friend, Buchner, who is currently penniless – he had been rich, and fell in love with Fanny, who was poor. Now, however, their situations are reversed, which puts their relationship in jeopardy. The good-for-nothing Nebel is planning to marry for money, and pretends he is a Baron Nebelstern at the inn, in order to get credit. His plan backfires however and he has to admit who he is, putting all his debts into the hands of his rich bride, Lucia Distl. Nebel is overjoyed to see his old master, Buchner, despite the fact that Buchner sacked him, and hopes Nebel will give him a job, to give him access to Mr. Fett’s house, and Nebel agrees. At the castle, Mr. Fett questions Lucia about her admirer, and lets it be known he considers her behaviour inappropriate. However Lucia refuses to let anyone interfere in her affairs. Nor is Fett prepared to approve Fanny’s love for Buchner, regarding the broke Buchner as unworthy of his notice. Fanny is inconsolable. Meanwhile Mr. Fett is all for the marriage of Ulrike and Alfred, and soon comes round to the idea of Lucia and the supposed baron Nebelstern marrying, when he overhears a conversation between them. Nebel pretends that he has to keep quiet about his noble heritage, fearing the wrath of his father (this is in fact the truth of Alfred’s position, not his). Mr. Fett promises to hurry along the wedding if Nebel helps to destroy Fanny and Buchner’s relationship, which Nebel readily agrees to. When Fett receives news that the son of a nobleman is disguised in his household, he assumes Nebel is meant – although in fact it is Alfred. The marquise announces in the letter that he is planning to make a visit to Fett’s house, in order to test the truth of this rumour about his son. Fett’s greatest wish is to make the great gentlemen he is to receive, as welcome as possible, and to this end, asks Alfred to ride ahead and welcome him, bringing him to the castle, meanwhile telling Nebel to remain in the left wing of the house.

Alfred desperately hopes that Ulrike’s appearance will make up for the undoubtedly unpleasant impression that Fett will have on his father, the marquise. Nebel starts to work on Buchner, exacerbating the doubts Buchner has, due to his dispair at ever being able to marry his beloved Fanny. He readily agrees to help Buchner make a ‘test’ of Fanny’s love. Nebel manages to trick Fanny into implying she is having an affair with him – to Buchner’s horror and anger. Meanwhile the marquise is also horrified (to Lucia’s indignation) at his son’s supposed choice of bride, and tries to buy off Fett, by offering a sum of money to whoever marries Lucia first. Nebel has fled from the scene to the inn, where he persuades the landlady to lend him more money. The marquise receives a letter he assumes is destined for Alfred (but is actually for Nebel in his incarnation as a disguised baron) in which Lucia begs her beloved to run away with her. The marquise sees to it that Alfred has no access to horses, and pays off the debts to the innkeeper that he believes his son has accrued. Nebel is of course delighted to discover his debts have been paid, and hatches a plan to make a better catch than Lucia, now that everyone seems to assume that he is the marquise’s son. The marquise rushes to Fett’s to arrange for Lucia to be married off without delay. Fett offers Buchner a large son of money to marry the bride of ‘the young Vincelli’, which of course Buchner assumes to be Ulrike, as he knows Alfred’s true identity. To avenge himself on Fanny he agrees. It all looks as if the wrong people are going to get married, when the arrival of everyone at the castle, and the marquis’s discovery that not only is it Ulrike and not Lucia who is his son’s beloved, but also that she is the daughter of a long lost love of his youth, means that Nebel’s deceit begins to unravel, and everyone’s true identity is revealed. Buchner and Fanny are reconciled, Ulrike and Alfred are allowed to marry, and Nebel is left empty handed, after Lucia refuses to have anything more to do with him.


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