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Ein gebildeter Hausknecht

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Ein gebildeter Hausknecht oder Verfehlte Prüfungen
A Cultured Hotel Porter, or Failed Tests

A farce in 1 Act
By Johann Nestroy
Premiere: 11th September 1858
Based on a work by David Kalisch

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Bernhard, proprietor of a hotel
Auguste, his wife
Frohberg, a merchant
Rosa, his wife
Knitsch, a porter (originally played by Nestroy)

Scene: A hotel

Frohberg has taken a room in his friend Bernhard’s hotel because the latter has asked him to help test his wife’s fidelity. Frohberg immediately starts to pay court to Auguste, but she seems unimpressed. Knitsch the porter shows Frohberg his album of girlfriends, in which each has written a verse. Frohberg wins Knitsch’s confidence to the extent that Knitsch asks him to write in the album. Frohberg then asks him if Auguste has any secret lovers. Knitsch is coy at first, but eventually admits that Auguste is very much in love with someone. He refuses to name the man in question. In fact he is talking about himself. Though Auguste’s manner with him is generally rather abrupt, he interprets this as an attempt to mask the depth of her feelings. – Auguste’s childhood friend Rosa arrives out of the blue, and Knitsch notes that her studied attempts to ignore him are obviously a cover: the poor woman has fallen instantly in love. Rosa tells Auguste she met Bernhard on her travels and he made a pass at her. What is more, he told her his wife was difficult and moody. Rosa is equally unfortunate with her own husband, which is why she has come here in pursuit of him. Her husband is, of course, Frohberg, and Auguste tells Rosa that he in turn has been making passes at her. Meanwhile Bernhard tells Frohberg excitedly about the woman he met on a journey, an “inspector’s widow”. The two women decide to take revenge on their husbands. When Frohberg makes advances to Auguste again, she responds. Bernhard discovers them and is mad with jealousy. Eventually everything is resolved, though the women take time to forgive their husbands. Knitsch, who thinks they are secretly in love with him anyway, instructs them to play hard to get.


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