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by Eugene Letterier

Genre: Comedy, Operetta
Format of Original Source: Plot summary
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


The first act of “Falka” opens with the announcement that Kolbach, the military governor of Hungary, has been promised a patent of nobility by the Emperor upon the condition that he can establish the succession with a male heir, either direct or collateral. He is childless himself, but he has a niece, Falka, who is in a convent, and a nephew, Tancred, who is usher in a village school. The brother of Kolbach is dead. His hopes for the heir rest upon Tancred, whom he has never seen. He summons him to take a place in his house as the heir presumptive. On his way, Tancred is captured by a band of gypsies, led by Boleslas, but is released by Edwige, Boleslas’ sister, on condition that he marries her. All this has happened in the night, and Edwige has not even seen Tancred’s face. The latter, when he learns who Edwige is, flies, and is pursued to the city where Kolbach lives by Boleslas and Edwige. From a pocket-book he has dropped they discover he is the nephew of the governor, and plot to identify him at the meeting, but Tancred, overhearing them, decides to baffle them by not appearing, and writes to his uncle that he is detained by illness. In the mean time Falka, the niece, has eloped with a young man named Arthur. Closely pursued by Brother Pelican, the convent doorkeeper, the fugitives arrive at the inn where Kolbach and Tancred were to have met. To foil Brother Pelican, Falka arrays herself in a suit of Arthur’s, and then boldly decides to personate her brother. Kolbach is easily deceived, but new complications ensue. Brother Pelican, finding Falka’s convent dress, suspects she has disguised herself as a boy and arrests Arthur for her. Boleslas and Edwige, witnessing the meeting of Falka and Kolbach, are certain Falka is the missing Tancred. For Falka’s sake Arthur is silent, and the cortège sets out for the castle where the heir presumptive is to be engaged, by the Emperor’s order, to the rich young Alexina de Kelkirsch.


More plot here than you’ll ever need.  The problem is that it’s all rather far-fetched, without being FUN like a Gilbert-and-Sullivan plot.  But you might be able to change the tone just a little bit, and get the plot to become goofy, and then suddenly the whole thing might take off like a house on fire.  Worth a look.  (Lousy title; don’t let it dissuade you from looking at the storyline.)


A word of caution:  This plot summary was written by 19th-century literary critic George Upton, who often mixes personal opinion with summation.  You would be advised to consult the original source material, if the general plot appeals to you.


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