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Princess Ida

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Princess Ida

by W.S. Gilbert

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

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


The first act opens at King Hildebrand’s palace, where the courtiers are watching for the arrival of King Gama and his daughter, the Princess Ida, who has been promised in marriage to Hilarion, Hildebrand’s son. When Gama finally comes, Ida is not with him, and he explains to the enraged Hildebrand that she is at Castle Adamant, one of his country houses, where she is president of a woman’s university. Gama and his three sons, Avac, Guron, and Scynthius, are seized and held as hostages for her appearance, and in the mean time Hilarion, and his two friends, Cyril and Florian, determine to go to Castle Adamant and see if they cannot make some impression upon the Princess.


Kings, courtiers, castles, kidnapping, in a university setting.  Hard to imagine what of that in an updated version would be interesting to a modern day audience.  You might try substituting real Royals and see whether you have a story, but as “real” people, these characters would probably be too two-dimensional to translate.


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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