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Gypsy Princess
Act1 English
Act1 German
Act2 English
Act2 German
Act3 English
Act3 German



Scene 1

The Orpheum Cabaret Theatre in Budapest. The main stage forms the auditorium of the Orpheum. This is not a theatre auditorium in the normal sense, but is an open space furnished with removable chairs and tables at which the audience sits and drinks during the performance. Somewhere in the set (probably upstage centre) is the stage of the Orpheum. Two other exits, one to the Winter Garden, the other to the street entrance of the Orpheum. If convenient, a fourth exit to service area, used by Orpheum staff only.

Over last four bars of overture, scene of great enthusiasm, everyone turned towards the small stage, applauding vigorously. Several cries of “Bravo!” and “Encore!”

FERI:                          Now wait a minute everybody, wait a minute! She’s given us seven encores already, and in all the years I’ve been haunting the Orpheum, nobody’s ever been asked for more than five. But if we want an eighth ...

CHORUS:                  We do! Why not a twenty-eighth? etc.

FERI:                          If we want an eighth encore, Boni and I will just slip backstage, and ask her very nicely.

BONI:                         The Girls don’t say “no” to Feri, and they don’t say “no” to me. “No”to both of us? Impossible!





(TERI and BONI disappear behind the curtain. The others resume their seats. General hum of expectant conversation. “D’you think she will?” “Let’s have some more champagne”. “Old Feri’ll fix it” etc. Orchestra plays one flourish. Re-enter FERI and BONI.)

FERI:                          The Lady says ...

BONI:                         “Yes!”

ALL:                           Hurrah! Capital! That’s the stuff etc.                                      



(Audience noise dies. Enter SYL VA. Applause, this time polite and restrained, intense anticipation)



SYLVA:                                 Heia, heia,
In the lonely mountains is my home,
0 heia, o heia
There in childhood days I loved to roam.
There encircled by snow and ice
Pure and bright blooms the Edelweiss.
Heia, o heia,
There is my heart’s paradise.
When a Magyar maiden comes to offer you her
Pay good heed to what I have to say before you
If you simply seek amusement
Seek it elsewhere while you may.
Those who love in Magyar fashion
Give themselves in headlong passion.
She will never let you get away.

0 la la,that’s the way I am.
0 la la proud and free.
Kiss me, oh kiss me
For he whose kisses promise bliss
Is just the lover for me.

CHORUS:                              O la la, that’s the way I am.
O la la,proud and free.
Kiss me, oh kiss me
For he whose kisses promise bliss
Is just the lover for me.

(SYLVA dances while everyone claps their hands.)

La la la la la la la la.
La la la la la la.
La la la la la la la.
La la la la la la la.
La la la la la la.
Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
(Prolonged and wild applause.)

BONI:                                     Sssh! Quiet! Sylva’s going to make a speech!

SYLVA:                                 Not a speech, just a word of thanks. Nobody ever had a more wonderful public, and you don’t make it easy for me to say good-bye. Please don’t forget me, and the moment I get back from America, I’ll come straight here to you.

(Brief applause, cries of “That’s the girl!” etc.)
Again, all my thanks, and au revoir!

(Exit SYLVA. Further applause. The public gradually leaves the Orpheum, waiters clear chairs etc., only FERI, BONI, MERO, SZERENYI remain.)

Scene 2

FERI:                          Well, what did I tell you this afternoon at the races? There are two ladies in Budapest who never let you down - Shooting Star in the King’s Cup, and Sylva Varescu at the Orpheum!


BONI:                         Oh, come on! Shooting Star’s a broken-down old cart-horse, she’s an absolute non-starter beside Sylva. If you’re looking for a thoroughbred champion, that’s the one to put your money on! (Pointing in the direction of SYLVA’s exit.)
Tell me, are we friends? (Takes FERI’s hand.)


FERI:                          We are Boni, we are. (To the others) After all, we have him to thank for Sylva. Her discoverer, her promoter.


BONI:                         And on an entirely selfless basis…….(The others
chuckle.) ... if you don’t mind! And now Miksa
(Turning to the head waiter.), let’s see that buffet
supper appear, hey presto! Just like we had when
the Gaiety Girls came over from London.



(MIKSA bows, exit. VON ENDREY, VIHAR, 2 GENTLEMEN enter.)

ENDREY:                  You fellows still hanging around?

FERI:                          Yes, a capital idea of Boni’s - farewell supper for Sylva.

WHAR:                       When’s she actually leaving?

BONI:                         3.45 a.m. express train to Trieste, then hop abroad the “Adria” and chug chug chug to New York.

FERI:                          The chap I feel sorry for is young Edwin. He’s dotty about Sylva.


BONI:                         Oh, nobody ever died of love - or I’d be a wandering corpse.

FERI:                          Where is Edwin, by the way? Wasn’t he at the show tonight?

MERO:                       I never saw him.

BONI:                         Which reminds me - all evening I’ve been nursing a telegram for him. (Takes it out of his pocket.) Oh crikey! From Vienna. What’s the betting it’s another clap of thunder from his Herr Papa about returning to the bosom of the family?

FERI:                          Yes, I’ve no doubt word will have been breathed in Vienna by now about Edwin’s affair with Sylva.


BONI:                         Affair? You watch your language old man! Affairs aren’t Sylva’s line of country - with her it’s marriage or hands off. And it just isn’t on the cards for Edwin to marry Sylva.

FERI:                          Aristocrats have been known to marry showgirls.


BONI:                         But you don’t know Edwin’s family. The Lippert-Weylersheims are second cousins of the Emperor, and you can’t be related to that old buzzard and not pay the price. I mean their noses point straight up to heaven, and they wear white gloves to go to bed in.


FERI:                          Well, they can wear galoshes for all I care. But I can tell you one thing - if I’d got a son, and with a little help from the good Lord I’m not aware that I have, the last thing I would do would be to keep him away from showgirls. In fact for his 18th birthday I’d bring him to this very place, to meet the Ladies of the Orpheum.

BONI:                         Don’t worry, he’d have found his own way long before that. This place is vital for any young chap’s education. (Giving FERI his hand.) Tell me, are we friends? You and I, Feri, we’d die without this place!

FERI:                          Boni, sometimes - just sometimes - you talk sense.




(During this conversation two other gentlemen have wandered in.)




FERI:                          We’re a bunch of sinners,
                                    To reemerge as winners
                                    We’d have to spend our nights asleep in bed.

EIGHT MEN:             In bed, in bed, in bed.

FERI:                          But for us the night life
                                    Is definitely the right life
                                    And so we go out on the town instead.

CHORUS:                  The naughty sinful town instead.

BONI:                         Chorus girls God bless ‘em,
                                    To kiss’em and caress’em
                                    Is nectar more delectable than wine.

CHORUS:                  Yes than wine, than wine, than vintage wine.

BONI & FERI:           When you taste the pleasures rare
                                    Of song and dance and womankind
                                    Worldly troubles disappear
                                    And joy is unconfined.

BONI:                         To be completely truthful,

FERI:                          And stay effetely youthful,

BONI:                         The one address you must possess
                                    Is where the little ladies can be found.

BON1 & FERI:           The ladies, the ladies,
                                    The ladies up on stage,
                                    We love them those sirens of the chorus.
                                    We Johnnies adore them,
                                    Those ladies up on stage,
                                    And relish the charms they parade before us.
                                    The ladies, the ladies.
                                    The ladies up on stage,
                                    They don’t waste their time on deep emotion.
                                    And tho’the cast is often changed, by final curtain
                                    They’ve arranged to see that we can transfer our

BONI:                         The gentry have a custom,
                                    Which one fine day may bust’em.
                                    Of lazing ‘round devouring caviar.



CHORUS:                  Yes please, some caviar.


BONI:                         But men of rank and station
Require an education
And this is where our fav’rite teachers are.



CHORUS:                  Our very fav’rite teachers are!

FERI:                          Don’t think me imprudent
                                    If I remain a student,
                                    And haven’t closed an eye for simply years.

CHORUS:                  Not for thirty, forty, fifty years!

BONI & FERI:           There is where we feel our best,
                                    There’s something in the atmosphere,
                                    Here we’re full of zip and zest,
                                    Until the bills appear.

FERI:                          Here ev’ry ardent suitor,

BONI:                         Can find an able tutor.

CHORUS:                  With figure thrilling,
                                    Kind and willing,
                                    Academics in the school of love.

BONI & FERI:           The ladies, the ladies,
                                    The ladies up on stage,
                                    We love them those sirens of the chorus.
                                    For they’ve recreated a modern golden age,
                                    And sweetly, discreetly do so much for us.

CHORUS:                  We all treat them well
                                    And when kissed they never tell.
                                    They’ve but to wink at us to floor us.

BONI & FERI:           Those fascinating, captivating,
                                    Devastating, scintillating,
                                    Lovely little ladies of the chorus!

CHORUS:                  The ladies, the ladies,
                                    The ladies up on stage.
                                    They’ve but to wink at us to floor us.
                                    Those fascinating, captivating,
                                    Devastating, scintillating
                                    Lovely little ladies of the chorus!


(Exeunt all. Enter EDWIN and MIKSA)



Scene 4


EDWIN:                      There’s something I want you to do for me.

MIKSA:                      Your Highness ... ?

EDWIN:                      Take this note to Fräulein Sylva ... in her dressing-room ... urgently.

MIKSA:                      Straight away, your Highness.

(MIKSA bows, exit. Enter BONI.)


Scene 5

BONI:                         Edwin, my dear fellow - where have you been hiding all evening? Here, I’ve got a wire for you.

EDWIN:                      Not another! (Opens it) Ninety nine telegrams a day, it’s enough to make one ... (Reads) “Affair with chorus girl must stop. Stop. Compromising entire family. Stop. If not return home instantly will find means of compulsion.” Well, well! Something’s got to be done about this.


BONI:                         What you’ve got to do is a smart about turn and toddle off home to your ancestors.


EDWIN:                      I can’t.


BONI:                         Look, your father’s as stubborn as a mule, and if he decides to lash out with his back feet even your fat head’s going to get a dent in it. Anyway, Sylva’s leaving in a couple of hours.


EDWIN:                      She won’t be leaving. I won’t let her leave!


BONI:                         Won’t let her? I’d love to see you or anyone else try that! You know what she’d say (Adopts SYLVA’s pose from the Entrance Song; sings falsetto) “Olala, that’s the way I am!” Tell me, are we friends? The world’s teeming with girls - does it have to be her?


EDWIN:                      Yes it does. There aren’t any others.



(ARANKA’s head appears in one of the doorways)

ARANKA:     Boni!

BONI:                         There’s one for you straight away! Well, no actually she’s for me. Coming sweetheart!



(Exit BONI to join ARANKA. Passes SYLVA entering in negligée. Slight air of glamorous disarray about her appearance.)

BONI: (Pointing to SYLVA’s dicoléitage.) One more button please. Draughts are bad for the voice. (Exit.)


Scene 6


SYLVA:                     Good evening.

EDWIN:                      Sylva, I have to speak to you.

SYLVA:                     So I gathered from your note; it gave me quite a fright. And by the way, I’m not terribly pleased with you -- missing my farewell performance.


EDWIN:                      That’s the point - there isn’t going to be a farewell.


Scene 7


SYLVA:                     It’s the only way Edwin. Be sensible.


EDWIN:                      Look, you can’t just drive a man clean out of his mind, then preach to him about being sensible. For nearly two months I’ve been hanging around Budapest - I’ve had a cracking great row with my parents - all because of you.


SYLVA:                     (Interrupting him) Edwin!


EDWIN:                      I’m sorry. I know it’s not your fault. I’ve just been completely dotty about you since the moment I first saw you.




(SYLVA takes EDWIN’S hand and looks straight into his eyes)

SYLVA:         (spoken) Edwin, this is my last evening.

EDWIN:          Sylva!

SYLVA:         Just a few short hours. I do so want them to be happy ones.



EDWIN:          Oh, Sylva! (He takes her in his arms and kisses her.)



SYLVA:         (Instinctively returns the kiss, then breaks gently away from him) Edwin!


EDWIN:          (Urgently) Stay with me! Life without you - it’s just not thinkable!


SYLVA:         You say that now, but it’ll pass. You’ll find someone else.


EDWIN:          (sung) Sylva, my heart is yours.
The only girl whom I adore.
Many are the times I’ve wondered,
 “Could this be the girl for me?”
Why not have a brief flirtation
With ev’ry pretty girl I see?
Many are the times I’ve paused and pondered
Why my stubborn heart survives.
Ev’ry time I ask it, it reminds me
“Wait until the right one arrives.”


SYLVA:         And what, if I may make so bold,
Persuades you I’m the one?


EDWIN:          I only wish that I could say
Exactly why I feel this way.

                        For loveliness is all around us,
Girls whose beauty may astound us!
But they disappear when Cupid fires his dart.
One alone in all creation, One alone your inspiration,
Someone all apart,
She is the girl who steals your heart.


SYLVA:         Can you really be so certain?
Can the heart be quite so sure?
Many are the passing fancies,
Very few of them endure.
When a sudden flash of light’ning strikes us,
That’s the time to say “Beware”.
Could it simply be a new adventure,
And in course of time disappear?






EDWIN:          If only you believed in me,
As I believe in you!


SYLVA:         I’ve heard it said from time to time
That hearts forget though once so true;
                        With loveliness that’s all around you,
Girls whose beauty may astound you,                                                             Do they disappear when Cupid fires his dart?


BOTH:            One alone in all creation,
One alone your inspiration
Someone all apart,

SYLVA:         Is she the girl who steals your heart?

EDWIN:          She is the girl who steals your heart!

BOTH:            One alone in all creation,
One alone your inspiration,
Someone all apart,

SYLVA:         She is the girl who steals your heart!

EDWIN:          You are the girl to steal my heart!

(Exeunt both at end of duet.)




Scene 8

(Enter BONI with the 8 girl dancers. They have all just been given presents, and are chattering excitedly as they enter, thanking BONI.)


GIRLS:           (General hubbub with occasional sentences more clearly
                        audible.) Coo, look, a lovely little purse with
                        something in it! Mine’s a mirror with jewels on
                        the back! Ooh, a gold charm! You are a darling,
                        Boni! Thanks ever so much. Give us a kiss! etc. etc



JULISKA:       (She is the last to open her present.) Oh! Boni, it’s a
                        ring with a socking great ruby!

BONI:             Well, we’ve had a good time, and I don’t want you
to forget me ... (Melodramatically) when I’m gone!

GIRLS:           (Swarm around Boni chattering) You can’t leave us Boni!
We’ll all cry if you do. We’ll miss you, really we will! etc. etc.

BONI:             Darlings I know true love when I see it, and believe me I’m grateful.
But I have to tear myself away from your adoring bosoms.




ARANKA:     Oh! Boni, you are naughty!


CLEO:            He’s off to America with Sylva, that’s what!


BONI:             Only as her business manager, let’s get that straight.                                                               But the true cause of my departure lies deeper far.                                                                         I’m turning my back on nightlife!


GIRLS:           (Giggle disbelievingly) Go on! Tell us another! etc. etc.


BONI:             (Ignoring the interruption) For some time now I’ve noticed that every 24 hours I grow one day older. I must seek another way of life - possibly something desperate, like work. In any case my love life is a thing of the past. (Girls laugh) I swear it, and when we men of honour take an oath like that ...


JULISKA:       You don’t keep it 30 seconds!


GIRLS:           Give us a kiss Boni!





BONI:             Many times I’ve sworn an oath to say goodbye to girls,                                                         Never kiss another one, not a single one.
Why should I spend all my cash on emeralds and pearls?
Better far to spend my time gainfully employed                                              In my intellectual prime reading Sigmund Freud. Dedicated as can be,
Till a female face I see.
Then who needs a diamond pin and ten cravats?
Who needs to promenade in gloves and spats?
Who needs a Riviera tan?
We’ll place a ban on Nice and Cannes.
Who needs to drive a swanky Daimler Benz?                                                             Who needs a yacht if he’s got any sense?
One thing though is essential,
(Aside) This bit is confidential,

Girls are the thing for the gents!

Early on a man must settle independent aims,
Then don’t ever change your mind, never change your mind.
If the ladies try to stake their matrimonial claims
Though it could be rather nice you must make clear
That life is one long sacrifice, and say “No my dear.”
Don’t invest in wedding rings, Matrimony clips the wings.
And who needs to guzzle in the oyster bar?
Who needs to puff a seven inch cigar?
Who needs to ride a thorough-bred?
You just fall off and bump your head!

GIRLS:           Who needs an aeroplane at vast expense?
Who needs apartments with enormous rents?


BONI:             One thing though is emphatic,
Here I’ll be autocratic,
Girls are the thing for the gents.

GIRLS:           Who needs to drive a swanky Daimler Benz?
Who needs a yacht if he’s got any sense?


BONI:             One thing though we’ll insist on,
One thing we won’t desist on,
Girls are the thing for the gents!


(After the number the participants can leave the stage and re-enter shortly, remain on the stage, whichever is more suitable to the choreography)

Scene 9


FERI:              (Or any member of the company, however it suits with the production)
Come on everyone, she’ll be here moment!
Let’s have a nice line-up!

(All the ladies and gentlemen of the Chorus hurry on during these words)

Here she comes!

(Enter SYLVA from backstage wearing a superbly glamorous dress)

ALL:               Bravo! Here she comes! etc.

(During SYLVA’s entrance and the general acclamation, the orchestra plays one flourish as at the opening of No.2. EDWIN has entered with the others, but slightly aside, not joining in the revelry)


SYLVA:         You’re all making far too much fuss of me - a thousand thanks to everybody! Now I don’t want to hear anybody mention the word “Goodbye”. We’re going to laugh and joke and dance and have a wonderful time, then when the moment comes, a quick kiss and off we go!
But first anyone who really loves me, I’m dying for a glass of champagne!

(The men all rush to get her a glass of champagne, but EDWIN has anticipated them. He already has two glasses in his hands, and gives one of them to SYLVA)

SYLVA:         Thank you so much, your Highness.


MERO:           (Raising his glass) To Sylva Varescu!


ALL:               To Sylva Varescu!


SYLVA:         (Raising her glass) To the future!


EDWIN:          (Chinks glasses with SYLVA and looks her straight in the eye.) To the present!


FERI:              To the past!


VIHAR:          To the Winter Garden!





(All rush towards the Winter Garden, except SYLVA, who remains somewhat pensively, and EDWIN, BONI and FERI, who stay with her)

JULISKA:       (Turns before leaving the stage) Aren’t you coming,

SYLVA:         Don’t wait for me. I’ll join you in a moment.

Oh! Goodness, I’m so happy!

EDWIN:          Are you?
SYLVA:         One just has to pull one’s self together. I don’t
                        think about the sad side. (On the edge of tears) I
just laugh ... I’ll just keep on laughing till the
moment I leave. (Bursts into a torrent of tears, buries
her head on BONI’s shoulder)

BONI:             That’s right, laugh it off your chest!

SYLVA:         (To BONI.) Have you got my hanky?


BONI:             There you are.


SYLVA:         I don’t know what’s the matter with me.
I suddenly thought of home, and Mum and Dad sitting there with my sisters in Kis-Kilkijlld.


BONI:             Ah! dear little Kis-Küküllö, where the piglets
patter along the pavement!


EDWIN:          (Privately to SYLVA) This is ridiculous.
You’re just trying to fool yourselfl


SYLVA:         Please!

EDWIN:          You love me, don’t you?


SYLVA:         That’s the best Possible reason for leaving!


EDWIN:          (Turning to BONI, who is holding a bottle and full glass)


BONI:             Go easy on the fizz, old man. You’ll be getting sloshed.


EDWIN:          And why the hell not? Come on Boni!


BONI:             (Pouring into the glass in Edwin’s hand.) There. Tell me, are we ...


EDWIN:          (Takes the full glass from BONI’s other hand.)
Come on everybody, drink up!


SYLVA:         (Wrenches herself out of her melancholy, takes a glass from EDWIN) Good idea! What shall we drink to?


FERI:              To me - long live youth!


BONI:             Long live friendship!


EDWIN:          (Clinks glasses with SYLVA, looking her straight in the eye.)
Long live love!


SYLVA:         (Anticipating the intensity of the Opening of the next number.)
That’s it - long live love!




SYLVA:                     0 grasp with open arms
Each chance that life affords you,
And fortune will in time
Come smilingly towards you.
For though the world be harsh
Don’t let its cares confound you.
Just wait for happiness
It’s everywhere around you.
Yes, yes and when your heart is aching
Don’t let care confound you.
Just wait for happiness
It’s ev’rywhere around you.

Heissa! Here’s to love divine,
Ties which none can sever.
Give me song and give me wine
Love, just live for ever!
Love the prize of ev’ry heart,
Love the source of sorrow,
All the pain that you impart
Cast aside tomorrow.
If you stand there fondly gaping
Love will knock you senseless.
You will find there’s no escaping
There you’ll be defenceless.
So never try to count the cost,
Just admit you’ve lost!
For when a woman’s eye
Falls on you by and by
There’ll be no earthly place
Where you can hide your face,
No chance of rescue then
You’ll find that women, women,
Weak little women
Are twice as strong as men!
One hope fills ev’ry woman’s heart
And leaves it never,
To know when we’re in love
That we’ll be loved for ever.
How sad our hearts would be
Without this hope abiding,
That someday we shall live
In one man’s love confiding!


EDWIN:                      Yes, yes how sad our hearts would be
Without this hope abiding
That someday we shall live
In one true love confiding.


BONI:                         Heissa! Let’s not sit around, just philosophising.
Girls in general I have found
Fast and tantalising!


FERI:                          Heissa! Time is running out,
Let the corks go flying!
Love is all we dream about,
When the night is dying.


SYLVA:                     Don’t forget that I have warned you –
Think with whom you’re dealing.
When a Magyar heart has scorned you,
Time will bring no healing.
No, no use then to count the cost,
Everything is lost!


BONI & FERI:           For when a woman’s eye
Falls on you by and by
There’ll be no earthly place
Where you can hide your face.
No chance of rescue then –
You’ll find that women, women,
Weak little women
Are twice as strong as men.



(Exeunt all.)




Scene I0


(Enter ROHNSDORFF. Self-evident army officer, though wearing civilian motoring clothes. Elegant, slightly arrogant, though in no way a caricature. Followed by MIKSA.)

ROHNSDORFF:        Announce me immediately to his Highness Prince Lippert-Weylersheim. His cousin, Captain Baron von Rohnsdorff,

(Exit MIKSA. ROHNSDOREF looks around disdainfully. A sudden riotous noise of jollification from the Winter Garden.)

Very exclusive society!


(Enter EDWIN.)

EDWIN:                      Eugen, what on earth brings you here? Has
                                    something happened at home?

ROHNSDORFF:        No, no. Calm down!

EDWIN:                      How long have you been in Budapest?

ROHNSDORFF:        Just arrived, with the car. They said in your hotel
                                    you’d be here. Not hard to guess anyway.

EDWIN:                      But why ... ?

ROHNSDORFF:        (Produces an official looking piece of paper.)
Read this!

EDWIN:                      (Reads in amazement) “Order to report for duty”?
                                    What the hell’s this?

ROHNSDORFF:        You’re a reserve officer aren’t you? You’re to
                                    report to your Corps Commander, in person,
                                    tomorrow morning (Looks at his watch) - or to be
                                    exact this morning, May 2nd, at eleven hundred

EDWIN:                      This is a put-up job! Father’s fiddled this to get
                                    me back to Vienna. But I’m not leaving!

ROHNSDORFF:        (Very sharply) You’re a soldier, and you’d better
                                    obey that order! (More friendly in tone) Edwin,
                                    let me talk to you as a senior officer, as a relative,
                                    and as a friend. You’re compromising us!

EDWIN:                      Because I happen to be in love with a good decent

ROHNSDORFF:        With a song and dance floozy!

EDWIN:                      (Furiously) Rohnsdorff!

ROHNSDORFF:        I don’t even glance at creatures like that, and
                                    I’m a freeman., whereas you’ve got a flancée sitting
                                    at home.

EDWIN:                      That’s not true! Stasi isn’t my fiancee. You know
                                    perfectly well, she’s some sort of distant cousin.
                                    And when her parents died, and she came to live
                                    with us in the holidays we became childhood
                                    sweethearts, or whatever idiotic name people
                                    want to use for it.


ROHNSDORFF:        Stasi has a different impression, and so do your parents. They’re pressing for an early wedding.

EDWIN:                      What?

Scene 11


(Enter SYLVA, who starts to speak before she has seen ROHNSDORFF)


SYLVA:                     Edwin, what’s keeping you? (Sees ROHNSDORFF.Turns to leave.)
Oh! I’m so sorry.

EDWIN:                      Sylva, don’t go!


ROHNSDORFF:        (Aside, bowled over by SYLVA) By jove!


EDWIN:                      My cousin, Captain von Rohnsdorff - Fräulein Sylva Varescu.


SYLVA:                     I hope you’ll grace our little celebration?


EDWIN:                      I hope you’ll grace our little celebration?


ROHNSDORFF:        To drive Edwin back to Vienna.


EDWIN:                      It’s an army thing. I have to report to my Corps Commander in the morning.


SYLVA:                     I see. So this is the last we see of each other?


EDWIN:                      (Decisively) On the contrary.


(SYLVA looks puzzled; ROHNSDORFF looks at EDWIN inquiringly)


SYLVA:                     Well, I must get back to my friends. Good-bye Captain.
What a pity you can’t stay.


ROHNSDORFF:        (Kisses her hand) A great pity. It’s been a pleasure.
(Escorts her to the door and opens it with a great show of gallantry) Au revoir!


SYLVA:                     Perhaps. (Exit)


Scene I2

EDWIN :                     (Drinking another glass of champagne.)                                                                                  Don’t strain yourself I know what it costs                                                                               you to be polite to a song and dance floozy.


ROHNSDORFF:        Cut out the drinking Edwin. It’s time we were off.

EDWIN:                      (Urgently) Give me half an hour. Go and wait next
                                    door in the café, then come and fetch me.

ROHNSDORFF:        But …….

EDWIN:          We’ve got masses of time, don’t worry.

Scene 13


(Enter BONI.)


BONI:                         I say, what’s all this I hear? jolly old Rohnsdorff
                                    popped up? (Shakes ROHNSDORFF hand, turns to
                                    EDWIN.) And you’ve got to push off and save the
                                    fatherland? That’ll be a nice surprise for your dear
                                    old Dad!

EDWIN:                      It will - but I’ve got one for you too! You’re all
                                    going to have a nice surprise! (To
                                    ROHNSDORFF) It’s a bargain - you fetch me in
                                    half an hour.
ROHNSDORFF:        (Looks at his watch) I’ll be on the dot.

EDWIN:                      (With sarcasm) I don’t doubt it. (Exit to Winter

Scene 14


BONI:                         Tell me, are we friends? What the deuce is going

ROHNSDORFF:        He’s got to give up Sylva.

BONI:                         Ah!

ROHNSDORFF:        He’s engaged, to his cousin Stasi.

BONI:                         What? And I never knew?
Why didn’t he tell me?

ROHNSDORFF:        Because of this Varescu of course. His parents are
                                    getting panicky and want to force Edwin’s hand.
                                    They’ve even had the announcements printed -
                                    but Edwin isn’t to know that till he’s safely back in
                                    Vienna. (Gives BONI a card)



BONI:                         (Reads) “Prince and Princess von und zu Lippert-
                                    Weylersheim have the honour to announce the
                                    engagement of their son Edwin to Countess
                                    Anastasia Eckenberg”. Oh, my giddy aunt! (Moves
                                    towards Winter Garden) I must break this to Sylva.

ROHNSDORFF:        Not till Edwin’s on his way!

BONI:                         We’ll need a bath towel to dry her tears this time!
                                    Well, I must buzz off and pack, or Sylva and I will
                                    reach America with one pair of socks between us!


(Exeunt hastily together.)

Scene I5


(Enter EDWIN, burstingwith exuberance, leadingSYLVA, FERI, all Ladies and Gentlenten and Dancers)

EDWIN:                      Come on everybody, come on! I’ve got some tremendous news for you! All right - wait for it! Sylva isn’t leaving after all!


ALL:                           Hurray! Bravo! etc. etc.


SYLVA:                     No, please! It isn’t true!

FERI:                          He’s pulling our legs!


EDWIN:                      She’s staying - I’ll bet you anything you like!


FERI:                          A case of champagne!


EDWIN:                      Fifty! A hundred! Name your figure!


SYLVA:                     Don’t be silly, you two. It’s not possible.


FERI:                          (To EDWIN.) How are you going to pull it off?


EDWIN:                      Easy as pie - I forbid her to leave!


SYLVA:                     Forbid me? What gives you the right?


EDWIN:                      (Decisively) My position as your husband.


(Stunned silence from everybody)

FERI:                          (Walks up to EDWIN, places his hand on EDWIN’s forehead.) Plastered!


(General outburst of laughter.)

EDWIN:                      Oh, no - I’ve never been more sober in my life. Sylva is going to become my wife - here and now!


SYLVA:                     (Completely taken aback) Edwin ... ?


EDWIN:                      just tell me - do you want me?


SYLVA:                     But it’s impossible. Think of your family!


EDWIN:                      You’ve got to be mine, and I don’t care if the whole world turns upside down! Pen, ink, a piece o paper!


FERI:                          Edwin, my dear young friend ... do you really want ... ?


EDWIN:                      A lawyer! Dead or alive!

FERI:                          (Catching the air of excitement.)
Next door in the café! That old villain Kisch - he’s always in there playing cards!


EDWIN:                      (In roaring high spirits) Here with old Kisch!


FERI:                          (To MIKSA) Here with old Kisch!

(MIKSA hurries out.)

EDWIN:                      I’m going to sign a contract which will bind me to the girl I love.


SYLVA:                     Edwin!


FERI:                          A wedding in the Orpheum! There’s never been such a thing! Jaj mamam! Edwin, my friend, you wonderful young man - you’re going to get something from me that no blasted Austrian has ever had before - a great big kiss! There!


SYLVA:                     (Almost imploringly) But Edwin ... dearest ... you can’t do this!


EDWIN:                      Sylva, do you love me?

SYLVA:                     (Whispers) Yes. (Then passionately, decisively)



(SYLVA and EDWIN kiss; enter KISCH, an untidy old man, looking crumpled and grumpy)

FERI:                          Here’s that old fiddler Kisch! Come on you old
crook - sit yourself down and start writing!


(A chair and a small table have been brought down-stage. Inkwell and quill placed
 on table.)

KISCH:                       (Grumbling to FERI)
The first time in my life I have four aces, and now look ...


SYLVA:                     Edwin - think what you’re doing!


EDWIN:                      (To KISCH.) Are you ready?


                                    (Dictating to KISCH.) I, Edwin Ronald Karl Maria, Prince Lippert-Weylersheim, do hereby solemnly declare that I choose Fräulein Sylva Varescu to be my lawful wedded wife; and that within eight weeks our union will be sealed according to the dictates of God and of the law.


SYLVA:                     Dearest ... are you sure?




EDWIN:                      Now we’re united!

CHORUS:                  0 Sylva, o Sylva,
Be happy in this love that you have found!


EDWIN:                      Now we’re united!


CHORUS:                  So seldom, so seldom,
So seldom can such happiness be found!


FERI:                          Wait though, my children. Tell me one thing. I’m all in favour of having a fling. But marriage is sacred, Not to be played with, And you must consider faithfully “Till death us do part”; No words can bind like these, And will you both, can you both Swear never to be parted?


CHORUS:                  “Till death us do part, No words more strong than these,
 And will you both, can you both
Swear never more to part?



FERI & KISCH:         No words more strong than these, And can you both swear never more to part?


EDWIN:                      We never shall part,

SYLVA:                     No never in this life.


COMPANY:               We’ll willingly, happily
Stay true to one another.


FERI:                          As your resolve is firm and true
May all good fortune smile on you, on you.


CHORUS:                  0 grasp with open arms
Each chance that life affords you,
And fortune will in time
Come smilingly towards you.
So when the world is harsh
Don’t let it’s cares confound you,


& EDWIN:                  Believe in happiness,
It’s ev’rywhere around you.





(EDWIN signs the document, then SYLVA)

SYLVA:                     (spoken) I still can’t believe it!

(Everyone gathers round SYLVA  congratulating her. After a whispered conference with FERI two of the girls have fetched a veil from back-stage and pin it on SYLVA’s head. One of the other girls puts a bouquet of flowers in her hand.)

I’m so happy - thank you all so much!


FERI:                          (Calls in the gipsy band from the Winter Garden)
Come on! We need a wedding march!


ALL:                           A wedding march! What shall we have?
You can’t beat the old firm of Mendel and Son!




(Wedding Dance.)

(ROHNSDORFF enters and watches the last few bars of the dance.)

ROHNSDORFF:        (Looking appalled.) Time’s up Edwin, We must leave immediately!

EDWIN:                      Eugen, I can’t - not now.

SYLVA:                     (Very tenderly) Edwin, you’ve got to - for my sake!

EDWIN:                      All right, my love. (To ROHNSDORFF.) I’ll be with you in a moment.


ROHNSDORFF:        (Sharply) I’ll be waiting in the car. (Clicks heels, cursory bow to assembled company; exit)


EDWIN:                      (sung) My love I’ll soon be back with you
And then we’ll never part.


SYLVA:                     I’ll wait for you my only love,
I’ll wait with eager heart.


EDWIN:                      My dearest, heav’nly creatures may surround me,
Loveliness be all around me,
They’ve just disappeared
Now Cupid’s played his part.


FERI & CHORUS:     One alone in all creation, One alone his inspiration.


EDWIN:                      Someone all apart,
You are the girl who’s won my heart.


(EDWIN exits.)           

SYLVA:                     (spoken) Is this all a dream?

(Enter BONI, bustling on very busily)

BONI:                         There we are, everything’s packed. (Producing one of SYLVA’s boots from behind his back) I couldn’t quite get this in, so you’ll have to dance on one foot! (Realises that his joke has fallen flat.)


SYLVA:                     Boni, you’re going to be furious with me

MERÖ:                       She’s not leaving!

BONI:                         Who’s not leaving?

VIHAR:                      Sylva - she’s staying here in a new role……

FERI:                          As Edwin’s wife!

BONI:                         As whose what?

FERI:                          (Hands him the document) Look! Read that!


BONI:                         (Looks round the company, deeply worried.) But that’s not possible….


(The COMPANY laugh delightedly, SYLVA grasps his hands ecstatically)

SYLVA:                     Boni, it’s all true!


BONI:                         But he’s not free to do this ...


FERI:                          (Sharply) Why not?


BONI:                         Because he’s already engaged ... to somebody else!


SYLVA:                     (Bursts out.) That’s a lie!


BONI:                         (Very tenderly) Sylva, little Sylva ... how can you say that to me? Look, formal announcement - Rohnsdorfl` gave it to me. (Gives her the card.)


SYLVA:                     (Reads fragments of the text, incredulously) “Prince and Princess ... have the honour ... Edwin (More clearly) to Countess Anastasia Eckenberg.” (Drops the card, looks as if she may fall.)


BONI:                         Sylva! Oh, my God! If I’d known ... But it’s better this way, Sylva - it is, believe me. You’d never fit into a family like that. You’re an artist- the whole world belongs to you! You must have everybody at your feet, not just one man! (He strokes her cheek) Sylva ... you’re a clever girl…..

SYLVA:                     (sung) You’re right my friend,
You’re right my friend!
We ladies, we ladies,
We ladies up on stage
We’ve but to wink at them to floor them!
(spoken) We’ll catch the train to Trieste,
Then out into the world!
Bright lights! Applause! 0 la la,
That’s the way I am!
(sung) Yes Herr von Kisch, dear Herr von Kisch,
I beg you not to take it hard.
Your legal document I fear
Was just a ludicrous charade!

CHORUS:                  Don’t waste your tears!
Cast off your fears!
Life starts anew,
Calling to you!


SYLVA:                     Yes, yes, I’ll make the whole world admire me,
Yes, I’ll make the whole world desire me.
Let love live for ever!
Let love live for ever!
Heissal Here’s to love divine,
Ties which none can sever!
Give me song and give me wine,
Love, just live for ever!
Love the prize of ev’ry heart,
I’ve no time for sorrow,
All the pain that you impart
Cast aside tomorrow.


CHORUS:                  If you stand there fondly gaping
Love will knock you senseless
You will find there’s no escaping,
There you’ll be defenceless.


SYLVA:                     So never try to count the cost,
Just admit you’re lost!
For when a woman’s eye
Falls on you bye and bye,
You’ll find no earthly place,
Where you can hide your face.


COMPANY:               No chance of rescue then,
You’ll find that women, women,
Weak little women,
Are many, many, many, many,
Many times as strong as men!


(COMPANY exits except FERI, MIKSA and a gipsy violinist, who’s sitting half asleep on a chair.)

FERI:                          (spoken) And what am I supposed to do now? I can’t go home - it’s only three o’clock in the evening! Miksa, bring me some wine ... pour it out for me, would you? (FERI sits astride a chair, MIKSA serves the wine, a bottle and a glass, on another chair beside him. FERI has picked up the card from the floor, reads it thoughtfully) “Prince and Princess von und zu Lippert-Weylersheim have the honour to announce the engagement of their son Edwin to Countess Anastasia Eckenberg.” Poor Sylva! (Drops the card, calls to the gipsy violinist in quite a different tone.) Zigeuner! (Violinist comes over to him) Play me something nice. But play it …....piano!



(FERI:)                        (sung) The ladies, the ladies,
The ladies up on stage
They don’t waste their time on deep emotion.
La la la la la la.
La la la la la la la la.
La la la la la la
La la la la la la la.


Slow Curtain.

End of Act I

No. 6 1/2 ENTRACTE


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