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“Sie sollen ihn nicht haben!”

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]“Sie sollen ihn nicht haben!” oder Der holländische Bauer
“They will not get him!” Or The Dutch Farmer

A farce with songs in 2 Acts.
by Johann Nestroy
Written: 1849
Premiere: Vienna 12 January 1850

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Krapfl, Shop owner
Amalie, his daughter
Vincenz, his second in command
Herkules Stark, swimming master and gymnast
Hortensia Strampfl, Widow of the dancing master
Lisi, cooks at Krapfl’s
Mummer, a hirer of masks
Wurler, his servant
Herr Winkelberger
Herr Strassinger
Herr Wickel
Herr Pfundhuber
Ladies and gentlemen, guests at the masked ball and others.

Place: a large city.
Time: the last day of the Fasching festival.

Act 1. For financial reasons, Krapfl has decided his daughter Amalie should marry Vincenz, his second in command, and since she is not interested in anyone else, Amalie is happy to go along with her fathers’ plans. [Song: Vincenz]. Both Krapfl and Amalie are however bothered by Vincenz’s various love affairs. Vincenz is never without an excuse for his interest in other women, including Lisi and Walpurga. For example he claims that his affair with the Dutch Walpurga, is because of his liking for his Dutch aunt. His respect for these relatives does not however extend very far; when his Dutch uncle comes to visit, wearing his Dutch traditional dress and refusing to change it, the fashion-conscious Vincenz finds an excuse not to have to escort him around the town, and even persuades him to leave sooner than he meant to. Because of his behaviour, Amalie and Krapfl don’t think that Vincenz’s uncle is likely to leave him anything in his will, but Vincenz assures them that his uncle has promised him that he will send him a fortune as soon as he can show that he has a worthy bride. To be on the safe side, Krapfl insists that vincenz may only marry Amalie, when he has received the fortune. Krapfl meanwhile wondering how he might win Lisi for himself, and decides to go to the masked ball. Disguised as a railway porter, Walpurga comes to Krapfl’s shop with a case for Vincez from his uncle. When Walpurga sees Vincenz’s joy at receiving the case, she decides to split up with him. There is some difficulty in opening the case, because Walpurga has forgotten to leave them the key. To the disappointment of all concerned, when they finally open the case, they do not find the expected fortune, but just a Dutch traditional costume and with it a letter from Vincenz’s uncle. Vincenz’s uncle writes that this was his wedding suit, which he wore while he had to traipse the town alone, and that Vincenz ought to have more respect for him, because this suit was the only thing Vincenz will be getting from him. Full of rage, Krapfl throws Vincenz out of the house. Vincenz gives Lisi the suit as a parting gift. She is keen to take dancing lessons, and swops the suit for twelve lessons. Meanwhile Walpurga returns with the key, attached to which is a note from Vincenz’s aunt which says that against the wishes of his wife, Vincenz’s uncle has sewn 50 000 Gulden into the lining of the suit. They are shocked to discover on questioning Lisi, that she no longer has the suit. [Song: Krapfl]. Hortensia and her guardian, Herkules are locked in argument, because Herkules, although himself in love with Walpurga, will not tolerate Hortensia going to the masked ball with her lover. Hortensia proudly shows Walpurga her costume, a Dutch traditional costume. Walpurga immediately suspects this could be the sought-after suit from the case. When Vincenz arrives at Hortensia’s, searching for the lost suit, Herkules takes him for Hortensia’s secret lover. Hortensia herself thinks he is her secret admirer, a baron, who keeps sending her sweet delicacies but whom she has never seen before. Vincenz realises the mistake, but preferring to play along, declares his love for Hortensia – if only she would take off her unflattering Dutch costume. She begins to be afraid when Vincenz passionately embraces her, in order to get at the hidden money. Herkules rushes to her aid, and by the time Vincenz has dealt with him, Hortensia has sold the offending costume to Walpurga. Vincenz’ song. Walpurga decides to post the suit back to Holland, because she hopes that Vincenz will be a better person without the money. Vincenz arrives in search of the costume. Walpurga demands an explanation from him regarding his declarations of love for Amalie, and his tenderness with Lisi. She also accuses him of pretending to be a baron. At first Vincenz denies everything, but then must cknowledge his lies. He assures Walpurga of his love for her, and asks her forgiveness. Herkules makes a visit to Walpurga, who has been ignoring his advances, and seeing the wrapped up suit, threatens to throw it in the fire unless she tells him what it is. Vincenz manages to prevent this, but Herkules succeeds in throwing it out of the window. When he hears that a fortune is hidden inside it, he rushes out of the room, locking Vincenz inside. Vincenz manages to escape the room by means of a ladder, and is covered in a shower of brick dust from a builder.


Act 2. Krapfl goes to Mummer’s, the costume hirer, to hire a Spanish costume for the masked ball. Herkules also arrives, having heard that someone found the packet on the street and sold the suit to Mummer. Mummer is happy to sell Herkules the suit for 50 Gulden but unfortunately Herkules does not have that much money, and nor does he have enough to hire the costume. He asks Krapfl to lend him the money, who demands that he first pay back his old debts. In desperation, Herkules tells Krapfl of the 50 000 Gulden, and in order to get rid of him, Krapfl pretends he doesn’t have the money on him, and sends him to his banker. Krapfl gives him a surety note for the money, which actually tells the banker not to give Herkules any money. While Krapfl is rummaging for his money to hire the suit, Vincenz appears, and just as he is examining the packet, Herkules stumbles in. He addresses Vincenz as ‘baron’ so Mummer, thinking therefore that his customers are extremely wealthy, raises the price for the costume. Both Krapfl and Herkules immediately make higher offers. Finally Vincenz says he will pay 500 Gulden for the wrapped up suit. Looking for a way out, Krapfl makes Vincenz an offer – he won’t bid any higher, if Vincenz promises to marry his daughter. Herkules also offers to stop bidding, if Vincenz will marry his niece. Vincenz promises both men what they want, and buys the package, but it only contains an old Turkish costume. In fact the Dutch costume has already been hired out to a young girl. Lisi is then seen, on her way to the ball in a Dutch costume. In disguise and unrecognised, Walpurga pays Vincenz’s entrance to the ball, and asks him (to his astonishment that the masked stranger knows of his affairs) which of his marriage promises he will keep. He answers he thinks he’ll marry Amalie, because Walpurga has never really understood him. Krapfl flirts with the masked guest in Dutch costume, and Lisi, liking the look of this dashing Spaniard, responds warmly to his attentions. She is horrified to discover that it is Krapfl under the mask, and afraid that he will recognise her and tell her mother of her presence at the ball, she decides to swop costumes with someone. Hortensia also appears wearing a Dutch traditional costume. Just as Vincenz is striking up a conversation with her, Walpurga appears, still unrecognised by Vincenz. He barely notices the folded note that she tucks into his costume, and it is only as she is leaving that he recognises her voice. Herkules also comes to the ball as a Dutch farmer, and thus bumps into Vincenz. Krapfl enters the room and mistakes Herkules for Lisi in costume, who has vanished. Vincenz has brought Chloroform along to the ball, and manages to render both Herkules and Krapfl unconscious with it. Although he immediately begins to search through the Dutch costumes, he can’t find any money. [Song: Finale]. Vincenz swears to Walpurga it is she that he loves, and that in spite of poverty, he is sure they will be happy together. Surprised she asks him whether he doesn’t have the 50 000 Gulden which she tucked into his costume. Unfortunately Vincenz no longer has the note – finally though they find it in the nose of Vincenz’s mask. Seeing the money, Krapfl once again becomes very friendly to Vincenz, but Vincenz refuses to change his mind, for he has finally made up his mind to marry Walpurga. (There is an alternative version of the play, in three acts, which is largely the same, except for small variations in the course of events at the ball.)


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