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King Dodo

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King Dodo

by Frank Pixley

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

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


“King Dodo,” though usually set down on the programmes as a comic opera, strictly speaking, is a musical comedy, or comedy opera. Its plot turns upon the efforts of King Dodo to find the elixir of youth. His adventures carry him from his own kingdom in the land of nowhere in particular to the South Sea islands and back, a few absurd love episodes adding to the humor of the situations in which he finds himself. The old King is enamoured of the Princess Angela, and to secure her he determines to find the fountain which will renew his youth. His Court physician has failed in the attempt; but Piola, “a soldier of fortune,” claims to know where the fountain is, but demands that when he finds it he shall have the hand of Angela as his reward. The King reluctantly consents, and starts with his whole establishment to find it. The wonderful spring is discovered in the land of the Spoopjus, and there King Dodo also finds Queen Lili, who promptly falls in love with him, because her ideal for a husband is a man full of years and experience. The King, however, accidentally drinks from the fountain, and is transformed into a child, whereupon the Queen rejects him. As the waters fortunately work both ways, when Dodo is thrown into them by conspirators, he becomes himself again, and the Queen devotes herself to him anew with such assiduity that they are united. Pedro and Annette and Piola and Angela also improve the occasion to get married, and all return in great glee to Dodoland.


Character names like King Dodo, Dr. Fizz, Mudge and Lo Basswood hint at the fun underlying this “fountain of youth” plot.  A delightful turn in which King Dodo drinks too much of the elixir and becomes a child, ruining his plans to get the Pretty Girl.  Fairly old-fashioned, but that might turn out to be a positive rather than a detriment.


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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