You are here:
Synopsis index

[Image:Moving Theatre logo]Zeitvertreib

A farce in 1 Act
By Johann Nestroy
Not performed in Nestroy’s lifetime.

Funded by

Arts council of England

Austrian Cultural Forum

Feldern, a young architect
Bumml, his servant
Stockmauer, a landlord and investor
Netti, Sali, Mathilde, Pauline, Cilli, Tini, Zenzi, all seamstresses
Klettner, a merchant
A clerk of court
A watchman

Scene: A beautifully furnished room with doors centre, right and left.

While his aunt, the widow Stiegenberg, is away, Feldern and his servant Bumml may live in her apartment. Each has arranged a rendezvous. But Stockmauer has Feldern placed under house arrest for not paying his debts. Stockmauer is confident that the aunt will pay her nephew’s debts on her return, but he is keen to teach Feldern a lesson for trumping him regularly in love, especially as Stockmauer currently has two relationships on the go and is anxious that it shouldn’t happen again.
To pass the time, Feldern decides to lure women to his aunt’s apartment by designing a poster advertising for milliners to help widow Stiegenberg. Bumml is given the job of copying the poster and distributing it around town, but decides to change “milliners” to “seamstresses” in the hope of seeing his girlfriend Sali, who is a seamstress by profession. Soon afterwards, Netti comes to enquire about the advertisement and meets Bumml, who has disguised himself as a chambermaid and is calling himself Rosa. Netti decides to return with all her colleagues so they can present themselves to the widow. – [Chorus of seamstresses] – Seven seamstresses, including Sali, now present themselves to Feldern, who has also donned women’s clothing. To provide work for the girls the two men tear up some of the aunt’s blouses. In trying to make progress with the girls they keep getting in each other’s way, so they agree to divide the seamstresses into two groups. Feldern takes three, and Bumml four, though Sali is not in his group. – [Chorus of seamstresses] – While Feldern is considering which two girls to send away so he can concentrate on one, Netti bursts in, for the other group has just discovered that Rosa is a man. Feldern turns Bumml out of doors, where he bumps straight into Stockmauer, but continues to play the role of the innocent chambermaid. Stockmauer sees an opportunity to get his own back on Feldern and begins seducing Rosa, but is intrigued to discover that there are even more girls inside. Alas, not only is the object of his attentions male, but he discovers his two girlfriends in the apartment. The girls are amazed when the widow also turns out to be a man. Stockmauer generously decides to treats everyone to dinner. Only Bumml is slightly frustrated that so many interesting new friendships have remained just that.


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