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The Merry War

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The Merry War

by Camillo Walzel

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

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely

EXCERPT:

The “merry war” is not a very serious one, as may be inferred from its title. It is a quarrel between two petty states, Genoa and Massa Carrara, growing out of the fact that a popular dancer has made simultaneous engagements at the theatres of each. Both claim her, and the question at issue is at which theatre the dancer shall appear. One harmless hand grenade is thrown from either side with monotonous regularity each day, and the “merry war” is without interesting incident until the pretty Countess Violetta appears in one of the camps. She is seeking to make her way in disguise into the city of the other camp, to take command of the citadel. Umberto, the colonel commanding, is deceived by her, and allows her to pass through the lines. When informed of the deception he determines to take his revenge by marrying her. Understanding that she is to marry the Duke de Limburg by proxy, he impersonates the Duke and is married to Violetta without arousing her suspicions. He is assisted in his scheme by Balthasar Groats, a Dutch speculator in tulip bulbs, whom the soldiers have arrested, thinking him a spy, and who is naturally willing to do anything for the Colonel to get him out of his predicament. Complications arise, however, when Groats’ wife appears and becomes jealous, also because of Violetta’s antipathy towards her supposed husband and her affection for Umberto. All these matters are arranged satisfactorily, however, when there is an opportunity for explanation, and a treaty of peace is signed between the two states, when it is found that the cause of the “merry war” will not keep her engagement with either theatre.



COMMENTS:

The delightful initial premise of two rival theatre companies which have booked the same actress fizzles into action which is not nearly as fun as the setup.  Can you find another plot about rival factions, and steal the setup?

 

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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