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Karikaturen-Charivari mit Heiratszweck

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Karikaturen-Charivari mit Heiratszweck
Playful Pandemonium for the Purpose of Marriage

A farce with songs in 3 Acts
By Johann Nestroy
Premiere: Vienna, 1st April 1850

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Muffinger, capitalist, formerly a fur-trader
Marie, his ward
Isidor, his son
Kathi, cook at Muffinger’s
Kajetan, houseboy at Muffinger’s
Krügl, innkepper
Barbara, his wife
Klar, notary
Anton, waiter
Röhrel, watchman
Jeriel Finkl, a trickster
Adolf Flamm, a junior doctor
Hansl, house boys

The action takes place in Muffinger’s house for the first and second acts, and in the third act at an inn an hour away from the city.

Act 1. Muffinger is Marie’s guardian, and until she marries, has control over her fortune. He is planning to marry her to his son Isidor, to keep the money in the family. Citing Marie’s father’s will, which he keeps under lock and key, he refuses to give permission for Marie to marry Adolf, with whom she is in love. Isidor is likewise unhappy with his father’s plan, because he is in love with Kathi. Muffinger however intends himself to make Kathi his bride, neither knowing that she is already married. [song: Finkl] Because his inn has been mortgaged for 3000 Gilders, Finkl has taken to the road in search of work and the money to pay his debts. Meanwhile his wife Kathi has taken a position as a cook, for which she has had to pretend that she was single. It occurs to Kathi that if Finkl were to succeed in preventing the marriage between Marie and Isidor, that Marie might show her gratitude with a generous gift. The idea pleases Finkl, and he sets to work. Meanwhile Muffinger has had a marriage contract for Marie and Isidor drawn up, threatening to disinherit the unhappy Isidor if he refuses to marry Marie. Finkl presents himself to Muffinger, disguised as Kathi’s mother. Both Isidor and Muffinger are extremely pleased to meet the mother of the object of their affections, but during the course of their conversation Finkl begins to worry that Kathi has been unfaithful to him while he was away. Alone together, he challenges her, but she manages to convince him that his fears are groundless. However, Muffinger confesses to Kathi’s ‘mother’ that he is in love with Kathi, and asks for her blessing. Although Kajetan has been assigned the task of watching over Marie, Kathi manages to tell her of Finkl’s plan, which he has also arranged with Adolf. He passes on a message from Adolf not to be shocked by anything that might happen. Muffinger is making the reluctant Marie get ready for the wedding party, when Adolf and Finkl appear and stage a mock fight, whereby Adolf appears to be stabbed by Finkl. Finkl introduces himself to the horrified Muffinger as ‘Barnabas Wühlhuber’. He claims to be Marie’s lover, and threatens to murder Muffinger, unless Muffinger lets him marry Marie.


Act 2. Finkl and Adolf have taken a room from which to plan their next move. Muffinger continues to insist on Marie and Isidor marrying. Disguised as a young lady, Finkl comes to see Muffinger in the guise of Wühlhuber’s abandoned wife. Adolf accompanies him, disguised as her servant. Finkl has his creation beg for succour and a hiding place, to save her from her furious father - because she has heard of Muffinger’s generosity and kindness. Next, Finkl arrives disguised as the father of his previous incarnation, and pretends to be determined to kill her for her relationship with Wühlhuber. Muffinger tries to talk him round, to no avail. Kajetan tries to persuade him, and is having some success, when Marie, apparently close to fainting, is led in by Kathi. They tell the company that the lady stranger has fled with Wühlhuber. Muffinger rushes immediately to the court to arrange for the couple to be pursued. In his absence, Finkl and Adolf help Marie escape, taking her to Adolf’s aunt. Kajetan does inform Isidor, but he is overjoyed, not angry, and does nothing to hinder their flight. After some discussion between Adolf and Finkl, it is decided that Kathi should remain, so as to dupe Muffinger even further. Finkl gives Kajetan, who is still looking for the runaways, a letter for Muffinger and a purse of money for his pains. In the letter, Finkl confesses to Muffinger that he has led him up the garden path. Muffinger is beside himself with rage, and at that moment, the guests arrive for the engagement party. Isidor then confesses his love for Kathi, whereupon Muffinger introduces her as his own bride. However Finkl, who has disguised himself as Kathi’s great grandfather, prevents their engagement.

Act 3. Adolf has taken Marie to his aunt’s. He himself goes to an inn outside the city, along with Finkl and Kathi. Since Marie is not yet of age, and therefore cannot marry without her guardian’s consent, Finkl has promised Isidor that he may see Kathi again if he brings a certified copy of the will with him. Isidor comes to meet them, but without the will, which Muffinger has taken away from him. Muffinger has found out where they are staying, and comes to find them. Finkl and Adolf pretend that they are a Sir and his servant, but Muffinger doesn’t believe him. [Song: Finkl] In their disguises, Adolf and Finkl have told the innkeeper that Muffinger and Kajetan are members of a criminal band, who are to be arrested. For a handsome reward, the stable-hands at the inn are happy to take on this task. Finkl returns as “judge Haemorhoidarius“, in order to try the alleged robbers. Bribed by Adolf, Kajetan confesses to having committed the horrific crimes. To prove otherwise, Muffinger indicates the will, which is read aloud by Finkl. In the will it states that Marie may marry whomsoever she wishes, and that after her marriage, she will come into her inheritance of 150 000 Gilders. At this point, Finkl reveals himself, and forces Muffinger to agree to the marriage of Adolf and Marie, revealing that he and Kathi have been married for two years.


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