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


Scene I

A spacious hall in the villa of PRINCE and PRINCESS LIPPERT-WEYLERSHEIM. A ballroom leads off it, from which music is heard. Young couples can be seen dancing there. Some are dancing in the hall, while the older guests are standing and sitting around, drinking, chatting etc.


CHORUS:                  The music is calling in accents sweet,
We/The dancers are all on our/their feet.
The fiddles are playing,
The couples are swaying
And our joie de vivre is complete.
You can’t beat a party chez Weylersheim,
The food and the drink are sublime.
The guests are the creme de la creme,
So I shall have a nice, really nice time.



Scene 2


(At the end of the dance all the guests exeunt, leaving PRINCE and PRINCESS alone.)

PRINCE:                     (Spoken over music.) Well, Anhilte, what do you say?
Everything’s going according to plan.
(Pointing to the ballroom.)
Just look how those two waltz together!

PRINCESS:                And how tenderly he holds his arm around her! He’s consoled himself very quickly, Leopold Maria!


PRINCE:                     I knew it Anhilte. A Lippert-Weylersheim always consoles himself.


PRINCESS:                They’re coming this way.

PRINCE:                     We must leave them on their own. You can do a bit of listening, Anhilte.


PRINCESS:                I’m always listening, Leopold Maria.


Scene 3

(EDWIN and STASI waltz on through ballroom entrance. She whirls him around, then flings herself in exhaustion onto a chair.)

EDWIN:                      Don’t be so wild Stasi!


STASI:                        (Points at the neighbouring chair.) Sit down there!


EDWIN:                      And don’t be so fierce!

STASI:                        Look me in the eyes - right in the eyes!


EDWIN:                      (Rests his chin in both hands and looks her straight in the eye - amused) Right enough? Can’t manage any righter!


STASI:                        You’re a fraud!


EDWIN:                      Stasi!

STASI:                        You’re keeping secrets from me.

EDWIN:                      I say ...

STASI:                        You’re treating me like a child. You know perfectly well what your parents are up to. They want us to get married.


EDWIN:                      (Flatly) Yes.


STASI:                        (Imitating him) “Yes”. It’s not a death sentence you know! Listen - ever since my parents died, you and I have always told each other everything. I could fill a book with the names of the girls you’ve told me about who were “sizzlers” or “stunners” or “corkers”. So just tell me something now. (Slight pause.) Are you still in love with her?


EDWIN:                      Who?

STASI:                        Don’t pretend - Sylva.

EDWIN:                      (Jumping up) Who told you about ... ?


STASI:                        (Interrupting) Rohnsdorff. He meant well. Till that’s over, we couldn’t ...


EDWIN:                      It is over.


STASI:                        Completely? (He remains silent.) Three quarters! (Slight pause) She walked out on you?


EDWIN:                      No, no.

STASI:                        Yes, yes. The very same evening that you left for Vienna she scooted off to New York.


EDWIN:                      You’re extremely well informed.


STASI:                        Oh! yes. And I know that you sent her a hundred telegrams, but never got an answer.


EDWIN:                      Stasi, please! That’s enough about her.

STASI:                        All right, not another syllable. (Slight pause.) Was she pretty?


EDWIN:                      Stasi, for heaven’s sake! It’s over.

STASI:                        So can I tell your parents? They’re dying to announce our engagement - tonight.


EDWIN:                      Tonight?

STASI:                        Why not? The cards have been printed for weeks.

EDWIN:                      Stasi, it’s not possible – not just yet. It would be….dishonourable of me. I…..I have to wait first for a piece of news.

STASI:                        What news?                            

EDWIN:                      It’s a secret Stasi - please don’t ask me. But let me ask you something. Do you really honestly love me?

STASI:                        (Carefully) You’re my very favourite person in the whole wide world.

EDWIN:                      But is that enough for a marriage?

STASI:                        Edwin, as we’re being nice and honest again ... You know as well as I do that only about a dozen families in Vienna are considered smart enough for you or me to marry into. Right?

EDWIN:                      (Resignedly) Right.


STASI:                        You know all the girls in those families and I know all the men. Right?


EDWIN:                      Right.

STASI:                        The girls all bore you and the men all bore me ...

EDWIN:                      But you and I amuse each other!

STASI:                        (Laughing delightedly) Right!




STASI:                        I’ve given up anticipating miracles, The sort you find in books.


EDWIN:                      Reality’s a very different cup of tea, Or so it rather looks!


STASI:                        I sometimes think that matrimony’s not for me, Just he and she all day.


EDWIN:                      I think a little freedom would be no bad thing, For each to go his way.


STASI:                        In any case I don’t intend to atrophy, Waiting at my master’s beck and call.


EDWIN:                      With such a very balanced philosophy, It won’t be bad at all.


STASI:                        Let’s do what the swallows do
When they build a nest.
Let’s agree to bill and coo
While it suits us best.
Later on from time to time
We can flutter forth.
I shall glance towards the south,
You towards the north.


EDWIN:                      It really isn’t practicable nowadays
For men to sit at home.


STASI:                        But who on earth decided when the world began
That only men can roam?


EDWIN:                      The woman has the job of looking beautiful
And managing the house.

STASI:                        If you want someone simpering and dutiful,
Then why not try a mouse?

EDWIN:                      I fear you’re wearing rosy-tinted spectacles,
Nobody gets ev’rything he wants.

STASI:                        So let us make it very clear here and now
Just who will wear the pants!


BOTH:                        Let’s do what the swallows do
When they build a nest.
Let’s agree to bill and coo
While it suits us best.
Later on from time to time
We can flutter forth.
I shall glance towards the south,
You towards the north.




Scene 4

(Exeunt both. Enter PRINCE and PRINCESS by separate entrances.)

PRINCE:                     (Eagerly) Well?

PRINCESS:                Our hopes, Leopold Maria - they are dashed! (Fighting back the tears)

PRINCE:                     Dashed my foot! We’ll see about that!

PRINCESS:                I couldn’t hear everything, but Edwin was beside himself. “I can’t!”he said,”It’s not possible. I must await some news - a secret . . .” (Stops in full flight)
PRINCE:                     A secret ... ?

PRINCESS:                Leopold Maria, I have a hideous presentiment.


PRINCE:                     You can’t mean ... ?


PRINCESS:                I do!


PRINCE:                     A child? A little ba ...




(The PRINCESS holds her fingers to her lips in horror in case anyone may hear.
The PRINCE checks himself half-way through the “bastard” and changes it to:)



PRINCESS:                Calm yourself, Leopold Maria!
Nobody need know. We shall despatch it to a
wet-nurse in the most distant corner of your estates.


PRINCE:                     Wet-nurse be damned! It shall be reared on a bottle - that’ll teach it!


PRINCESS:                (Reproachfully) Remember it’s a LippertWeylersheim!


PRINCE:                     (Appalled) With more than a dash of Varescu!

PRINCESS:                We must rejoin our guests.

PRINCE:                     No-one must notice a thing. (Offers her his arm)
Come, Anhilte!


(Exeunt both.)




Scene 5

(Enter SYLVA in ermine coat, fabulous evening dress, jewels; BONI in tails, carrying coat and opera hat.. FOOTMAN)

FOOTMAN:               Whom shall I announce? (Takes SYLVA’s coat, BONI’s coat and hat.)

BONI:                         (In a terrible state of jitters) Count Bonifazius Kancsianu ...


SYLVA:                     (Sharply) ... and wife. Count and Countess
Kancsianu! (FOOTMAN hesitates~ looking perplexed. SYLVA gives him a sign to get on with it. Exit FOOTMAN.)
Pull yourself together Boni! You’ll ruin everything!


BONI:                         I will? What about you? You’re pushing us both in at the deep end - and I’m not dressed for a swim!


SYLVA:                     You gave me your word; just for this evening I’m your wife.


BONI:                         It’s conspiracy to defraud – five years and no option.


SYLVA:                     There’s somebody coming! Now let’s see a little theatrical talent! (Visibly steels herself for what is coming.)


(Enter PRINCE, delightedly.)

PRINCE:                     What do I hear? Boni’s blown in? My dear boy, what a pleasure! (Shakes his hand.) And you’ve brought a wife with you! (To SYLVA, who curtseys deeply – PRINCE full of admiration) Well, I must say - congratulations! (Hurries towards ballroom door.) Anhilte! Stasi! Everybody! Do come here! (Enter PRINCESS, STASI, all guests, but not EDWIN.) Wonderful news - young Count Kancsianu, son of my best friend from Budapest, and ... his charming wife!


BONI:                         Dreadfully sorry and all that - barging in like a sore thumb in a china shop!

PRINCE:                     Such a young villain - marries without telling us!

BONI:                         It ... er ... came as a surprise ... did it in a hurry, don’t yer know!


SYLVA:                     (Glaring at BONI, but in a cooing tone.) That’s right, Bonifazius darling.


BONI:                         Honeymoon starting any minute now.


PRINCESS:                (To SYLVA) Well, you’re more than welcome, my dear child.


SYLVA:                     (Another deep curtsey) Your Highness!

BONI:                         (Aside) Get me out of here!


PRINCESS:                (Introducing STASI to SYLVA) This is my very dear niece Stasi.


SYLVA:                     Ah! (STASI and SYLVA greet each other with slight curtseys. SYLVA looks intently at STASI, STASI is deeply impressed by SYLVA’s glamour.)


BONI:                         (Aside, looking at STASI.) By gad, what a stunner!

PRINCE:                     Edwin’s eyes are going to pop right out of his head!

BONI:                         Yes, I’m rather afraid they may.

PRINCE:                     Where is the young layabout?

STASI:                        He went to his room to write an urgent note.




(PRINCE and PRINCESS exchange doom-laden glances.)

PRINCE:                     (Imperiously to STASI.) Fetch him!

BONI:                         I shouldn’t bother to fetch him - he’ll pop up soon enough. (Continues chatting flirtatiously with STASI, who is highly amused by him. They do not listen to following conversation)


MACGRAVE:            (American accent. Presents himself to SYLVA, looks at her in astonishment.) You know Ma’am, this is amazing - just amazing!


SEVERAL GUESTS:            (Gathering round them)
What’s that, Ambassador?


MACGRAVE:            Countess, do you know you have a double?


SYLVA:                     (Smiling, managing to be very relaxed)
How fascinating. Who is she?


MACGRAVE:            A little lady I saw a couple of weeks back bringing the house down on Broadway. She sure had a tricky name ... Sylvia.. ?


SYLVA:                     Ah! Sylva Varescu?

MACGRAVE:            (Enthusiastically) That’s it! D’you know her?


SYLVA:                     Not personally, but my husband does. Bonifazius! (BONI, still chatting to STASI, turns to her.) Just imagine. Here’s somebody else commenting on my resemblance to the Varescu girl.


BONI:                         (Aside) Here we go!

SYLVA:                     Isn’t it amusing?

BONI:                         Tremendously! (Mirthlessly) Ha! Ha! Ha!


SYLVA:                     I’d love to see her.

MACGRAVE:            She seems to be quite a girl. New York was full of stories about her getting engaged to some Prince down in Budapest. But he had second thoughts and decided she was better suited to her gipsy violinist friends. So now they’re calling her the Gipsy Princess!


GUESTS:                    (Laughing) The Gipsy Princess!


SYLVA:                     The Gipsy Princess. How ... entertaining!


PRINCE:                     (To whom the conversation has become distasteful.) Well, I’m sure that’s enough about this, er, person. We don’t want to upset our dear Countess. Nobody could mistake a “lady of the stage” for a real lady. I couldn’t, anyway!


Scene 7

EDWIN:                      (Enters, surprised but delighted.) Boni! Is this true?


BONI:                         (Quickly masking SYLVA from EDWIN.) Yes ... ha! ha! ... the old eyes doing a bit of popping, are they?


PRINCE:                     And look at the charming surprise he’s brought with him! My son Edwin - Countess Kancsianu.


BONI:                         (Aside) Hold tight everybody!

EDWIN:                      Sylva!

ALL:                           (Laughing) You too!

SYLVA:                     (Quickly walks up to EDWIN, smiling, entirely in control.) You’re confusing me with someone else, your Highness. But don’t worry, you’re not the first. This Varescu really must be my double.


BONI:                         It’s environment. All the girls in Kis-Küküllö look identical.

EDWIN:                      (Looking steadily at SYLVA)
Ah, the Countess is from Kis-Küküllö?


BONI:                         Yes, jolly old Kis-Küküllö, where the piglets patter ... Aaah! (EDWIN interrupts BONI by taking his hand and squeezing it mercilessly)

EDWIN:                      Boni, I congratulate you!


BONI:                         (Ruefully) Thanks most awfully!

SYLVA:                     We’re frightfully happy together, aren’t we Bonifazius?

BONI:                         (Hollowly) Frightfully.


SYLVA:                     (To the company in general.) You musn’t hold it against us that we’re a bit ... er, you know ... (Coyly) It’s just that we’re so newly married!

BONI:                         (As above.) Frightfully newly!

SYLVA:                     (Looking straight at EDWIN) When I really love somebody it’s impossible for me to disguise it.

PRINCE:                     (Defusing the air of embarrassment)
Yes ... well ... Why don’t we all go and dance?
Would our lovely young Countess do me the honour?
(Offers SYLVA his arm. She takes it)


SYLVA:                     Your Highness. (Exeunt both, followed by company)

STASI:                        (To BONI.) Don’t you dance, Count?


BONI:                         You bet I do!

EDWIN:                      (Grabs BONI’s tails) You’re staying here!


BONI:                         (To STASI, embarrassed.) Sorry, I’m stuck!


STASI:                        Pity - I’ll have to find somebody else! (Exit laughing.)

Scene 8



EDWIN:                      Out with it! What the hell’s going on?

BOM:                          (Exaggeratedly friendly and gently)
Tell me, are we friends?

EDWIN:                      (Grabs him by the lapels and shakes him) I mean to know what this farce is all about!


BONI:                         I can’t get a word out if you shake me like that!


EDWIN:                      (Let’s go of him, forces himself to be calm) What happened? I wrote so many telegrams my fingers were nearly bleeding ... not a squeak out of Sylva, not a sign of life. And you bolted with her to America - why? (Advances on BONI.) I ask you, why?


BONI:                         (Backs away) Cool down, old man!


EDWIN:                      You both ratted on me! And I sit here like a total idiot and wait! Where did you get married? Over there?


BONI:                         Over here ... in Kis-Küküllö ... Sylva’s old home ... with her Mum and Dad.


EDWIN:                      And you have the effrontery to show your face in this house? - a man I’d have trusted with my life! It’s enough to make one tear one’s hair out!


BONI:                         Well you carry on, old bean. I’ll be back in a mo. (Tries to get away)


EDWIN:                      (Catches him, holds him back) Boni, I might just murder you! Will you explain yourself or not?


BONI:                         Please ... no shaking!


EDWIN:                      (Lets him go) All right. Now get on with it!

BONI:                         Well, we, er, got ourselves married ...


EDWIN:                      Why?

BONI:                         For love.


EDWIN:                      (Advancing on him) For what?

BONI:                         (Bolts behind a table.) No, no, for convenience.
(Brief pause. EDWIN paces up and down. BONI follows him nervously and shudders with fright every time EDWIN turns towards him)


EDWIN:                      So you’re her husband? Really her husband?


BONI:                         Except for one little detail. Our relationship is still ... pure. (Casting down his eyes coyly) Our union has not yet been ... consumed.


EDWIN:                      (Leans across the table and shakes him) Look me in the eyes! Is that true?


BONI:                         Yes! Now let me go, you ... hyena!


Scene 9


SYLVA:                     (Enters in time to see EDWIN’s last attack and comes to BONI’s rescue.) Bonifazius, the Prince is asking for you.


BONI:                         (EDWIN lets go of him.) Give the Prince a lifesaving medal!


SYLVA:                     You don’t seem quite yourself, my darling. What’s come over you?


BONI:                         The shakes!


SYLVA:                     (Straightens his tie, whispers to him) Is he onto something?


BONI:                         (Whispers back.) No, but watch it - he’ll shake your teeth out!


SYLVA:                     (Normal voice.) Pah, sweetie-pie!


BONI:                         Pah, lovey-dovey! (Sticks his hands in his pockets, saunters past EDWIN, whistling provocatively, EDWIN moves towards him, BONI scoots off.)



Scene I0

(Brief Pause. SYLVA tries to get herself under control.)

EDWIN:                      Sylva! (She turns to him, smiling. EDWIN can’t control his emotions. He rushes up to her, tries to take her in his arms) You’ve come ...


SYLVA:                     (Interrupts him, still smiling.) I’ve come, your Highness, to wish you luck, and to catch a glimpse of your fiancée - of the girl you’d been in love with long before you pulled your little joke on me.


EDWIN:                      Joke?


SYLVA:                     Oh, come along! Surely my noble friend can’t imagine I took his little ceremony seriously? It was one huge laugh - a night-club wedding - terribly funny idea. After you’d gone we all split our sides!


EDWIN:                      Sylva, look at me! (She does so, smiling, relaxed.) The contract that we signed - you honestly took it as a joke?


SYLVA:                     Of course. How else could I have taken it?


EDWIN:                      And you married Boni of your own free will?


SYLVA:                     Naturally. Boni adores me.


EDWIN:                      And you? You love him?

SYLVA:                     Sylva Varescu would never marry a man she didn’t love.


EDWIN:                      In that case - I have nothing more to say.

SYLVA:                     (Intently) And when is your Highness thinking of following my example? When will you be marrying?




EDWIN:                      (spoken) My engagement will be officially announced this very evening. And I thank you for the honour you have done me by appearing here in person (Kisses her hand formally!) We two, we can remain good friends, can we not?


SYLVA:                     (Battling to retain control of herself)... Good friends...


EDWIN:                      And that evening in the Orpheum ... that last evening. That was just a dream ... was it not?


SYLVA:                     (Faintly) just a dream.

EDWIN:                      (Intensely, almost whispering into her ear.)
But a beautiful one - the most beautiful I’ve ever known.
Do you think of it sometimes?


SYLVA:                     I think of it. (sung) Festive laughter, celebration, Friends around me, jubilation, Music playing, lights ablaze!


EDWIN:                      Glasses clinking, waiters beaming, Dancers whirling, jewels gleaming, Ev’rything a golden haze!


SYLVA:                     All of us were touched by magic,
A dream to cherish and adore.
Such memories as these stay with us all our lives.
Yes, for ever more.

BOTH:                        But happiness and love’s enchantment
Are gone for ever and a day.

SYLVA:                     Like fading phantom figures
They are out of reach.
So far away!


EDWIN:                      Where are they now,
Words so devotedly spoken?
Gone like a dream,
Gone with the dawning of day.
Where are they now,
Vows which could never be broken?
Where are they now?
Where are they now?
Where are the love and the hope?
Where are they now?
Promises which none could sever,
Now so soon they’re gone forever,
And a husband’s at your side!


SYLVA:                     Other eyes so sweetly smiling,
Soft embraces, words beguiling
Edwin and his lovely bride!


EDWIN:                      How could you destroy that magic,
Destroy our own enchanted spell?
The love I felt for you no words could ever tell,
None could ever tell.


BOTH:                        And yet of such a tender passion
The memory alone is left;


SYLVA:                     Two wounded hearts of all their cherished dreams bereft,
Ever bereft.


            Where are they now,
Words so devotedly spoken?
Gone like a dream.
Gone with the dawning of day.
Where are they now,
Vows which could never be broken,


BOTH:                        Where are they now?
Where are they now?
Where are the love and the hope?
Where are they now?


SYLVA:                     Just a fairy-tale romance,
How confusing,
Just a momentary fling,
                                    How amusing!
Just a comic episode,
Simply splendid,
So let’s laugh now it has ended!
La la la la la la la.
Simply splendid,
La la la la la la la.
Now it’s ended.


BOTH:                        Just a fairy-tale romance,
Now it’s over.
Dead and gone!



Where are they now?
Where are they now?
Where are the love and the laughter,
Oh where are they now?

 (Exeunt at opposite sides of stage.)


Scene 13


(Enter STASI, followed by BONI.)

STASI:                        Go on, you’re just a flatterer!


BONI:                         No really - bowled over at the first glance!


STASI:                        Well, well, well!
Are all Hungarian husbands as wicked as you?


BONI:                         No, just me. But what can I do about it? When you look at me like that with those huge blue eyes, everything inside just goes boum! (Strikes the right side of his chest, corrects himself) Er, sorry, boum! (Strikes the left side of his chest.)


STASI:                        (Clasping her hands in mock horror.)
Heavens! If your wife could hear you!


BONI:                         My what? Oh yes, my wife! Well, actually it wouldn’t bother me a bit.


STASI:                        Well all I can say is, if you were my husband ...


BONI:                         (Eagerly) If I were your husband ... ?


STASI:                        I’d make it my business to scratch your eyes out.


BONI:                         (Clasping her hands) And if these were the hands that did the scratching, I’d never want it to stop.



Scene 12


(Enter SYLVA, followed by EDWIN. She sees Boni kissing STASI’hand)


STASI:                        (Alarmed) Your wife! (Tries to withdraw her hand.)


BONI:                         (Relaxed) Doesn’t matter! (Goes on kissing her hand.)

SYLVA:                     (Exaggeratedly loving.) Bonifazius darling, I think there’s something in my shoe. (Assumes a limp)

EDWIN:                      (Rapidly) May I.. ?


SYLVA:                     Thank you, but what does one have a husband for?


BONI:                         What indeed? (Aside to SYLVA.)
Why don’t you wear gumboots?


EDWIN:                      (Playing SYLVA’s game.) Well, Stasi my angel, are you having a nice time?


STASI:                        (Looking straight at BONI.) A very nice time.


EDWIN:                      You look - ravishing.

SYLVA:                     (Hissing to BONI.) Say something loving to me.


BONI:                         (His attention still on STASI.) Like what?


SYLVA:                     Half-wit!


BONI:                         (Loudly, in loving tone) Half-wit!

EDWIN:                      (To STASI, holding her hand.)
I’m not going to let you go - you must dance every dance with me!


BONI:                         (Still fumbling with SYLVA’s shoe, tries to cross to STASI.) But I’m dancing the next waltz ...


SYLVA:                     (Wrenches him around.) ... with me!


BONI:                         (Resignedly to STASI.) With her!


SYLVA:                     (Rumpling BONI’s hair playfully, but looking straight at EDWIN.)
I can’t bear to see you dance with anyone else.

EDWIN:                      (To STASI, but looking at SYLVA)
There’s no-one in the world more thrilling
to dance with than you!



Music it fires me,
Music inspires me,
Makes my feet want to dance.
Once the band has started playing,
In each other’s arms we’re swaying,
And I know that when a waltz is due,
No-one can dance it like you!

BONI:                         (To SYLVA.)
Music inspires me,
Music requires me,
Wife, to ask you to dance.
Shake a leg with me my sweetie,
Let me beg and make entreaty,
For I know that when a waltz is due,
No-one can polka like you.

STASI:                         (To EDWIN.)
Cousin dear, you’re strangely attentive to me.
May I ask what the reason could be?
What a change to encounter a man.
Who doesn’t just grab what he can!

SYLVA:                       (To BONI.)
When a husband’s suggesting a dance,
Ev’ry woman will leap at the chance.
I suspect you are waltzing through life,
So let’s make sure it’s with your wife!


ALL FOUR:               Hurrah, hurrah,
This life is for living
So have no misgiving
And live for all you’re worth.
Hurrah, hurrah,
For joy beyond measure
And infinite pleasure,
That’s why we’re here on earth.
To you, to you,

I’ll be for ever true,
                                    We’ll twist and twirl
                                    And swish and swirl,
                                    And waltz our worries away!
                                    Forget tomorrow
                                    And its sorrow,
                                    Dance today!

STASI:                        Dearest, you charm me
                                    Wholly disarm me,
                                    Irresistible you!

SYLVA:                     Boni dear, you waltz so lightly,
                                    Like a horse, but less politely,
                                    If you hold me closer, then who knows,
                                    P’raps you won’t tread on my toes!

EDWIN:                      From the way I’m dancing
                                    You surely can tell
                                    That I’m hopelessly under your spell.
                                    I will count it the crown of my life,
                                    Once I have made you my wife.

BONI:                         Popsy, don’t be so loving to me,
                                    It puts our marriage at risk don’t you see?
                                    Such affection in public, I swear,
                                    Soon it will be too much to bear!

ALL FOUR:               Hurrah, hurrah,
                                    This life is for living,
                                    So have no misgiving
                                    And live for all you’re worth!
                                    Hurrah, hurrah,
                                    For joy beyond measure
                                    And inifinite pleasure
                                    That’s why we’re here on earth
                                    To you, to you,
                                    I’ll be for ever true,
                                    We’ll twist and twirl
                                    And swish and swirl,
                                    And waltz our worries away
                                    Forget tomorrow
                                    And its sorrow,
                                    Dance today!

(All four dance off.)



Scene 13

PRINCE:                     (Enters enthusiastically.) This young Countess
Kanscianu is a heavenly creature! How she dance
– how she floats! (Imitates her, slipping into a waltz)


SYLVA:                     (Enters, sees him, laughs.) Your Highness!


PRINCE:                     That’s right, laugh at me, but it’s all your fault, my dear. You’re an enchanting young lady, and I’m almost beginning to understand my son.


SYLVA:                     Your son ... ?

PRINCE:                     If this Varescu really is your double, how could he help falling in love with her?


SYLVA:                     Oh, I see. But that’s past history, isn’t it?


PRINCE:                     Yes, thank God. He loves little Stasi, and she loves him.


SYLVA:                     just supposing it had been serious. If Edwin had come to you and said “Father, I love this ... cabaret-girl, and I want to marry her”?


PRINCE:                     (Interrupts her with a laugh.) Oh dear me! You don’t know the Lippert-Weylersheims! My son didn’t come to me, and didn’t say “I want to marry her”. He had his bit of fun, and now he’s marrying one of his own sort.


SYLVA:                     (Almost to herself) And the Gipsy Princess has been ... forgotten?


PRINCE:                     She has indeed. And now my only wish for Edwin is that he will be as happy with Stasi as you are with Boni.


SYLVA:                     (Faintly) Yes. Yes of course. (With forced gaiety) Your Highness, why don’t we dance?


(The last page of No. 7 has been repeated very softly behind the final sentences of this dialogue, as if comingfrom the ballroom off-stage. Sudden crescendo after SYLVA’s last words. They dance off.)




Scene 14


(Enter STASI and BONI, breathless from dancing. STASI flings herself into a chair)

STASI:                        You’re killing me - I must get my breath back!

BONI:                         How about a drink?

STASI:                        Oh, no thanks.

BONI:                         What I’d like to offer you is something very different.

STASI:                        What?

BONI:                         (Pointing at his heart.) That.


STASI:                        How can you talk like that? I’m going to tell your wife about you.


BONI:                         I wish you would.

STASI:                        Listen. Do you know you’re an utterly depraved character?


BONI:                         I’m an utterly happy character. I’m in love - for the very first time.


STASI:                        And your wife?


BONI:                         What’s it got to do with my wife? Listen, I have a confession to make.


STASI:                        Oh my God!

BONI:                         (Mysteriously) Our marriage ... (Searching for words) ... is not a marriage.


STASI:                                    What is it then?

BONI:                         (In desperation.) I can’t tell you till tomorrow. I ... I’ve sworn ... Oh drat, this is dreadful! But please say truthfully (Takes her hand.), if I were free, free like a ... fish on the wing ... could you become fond of me?


STASI:                        I’m not going to tell you.


BONI:                         Why not? Because of my wife? (Very tenderly) Look, forget about my wife. She can be ... eliminated.


STASI:                        (In horror.) What?


BONI:                         Painlessly. We can let her live.


STASI:                        Don’t you care about your wife?


BONI:                         No.


STASI:                        Then why did you marry her?


BONI:                         Can’t say till tomorrow.


STASI:                        I’m beginning to lose my confidence in men.


BONI:                         Oh! it’s nothing to do with us - it’s that fellow Cupid.



Glance around, men are thick on the ground,
Some are young, some are old,
Some are shy, some are bold,
Some well read, others slow in the head,
But they all have an urge to wed.
There are some who’ll take on a tigress,
Or get caught by an untamed shrew.
There are others of course
Who are absurdly lucky,
They land a girl like you.

                                    That fellow Cupid, He’s not so stupid,
He’ll make a monkey out of you whoe’er you are.
Like ev’ry lover
You’ll soon discover
Forbidden fruits are always tastier by far!


STASI:                        Men take care, there are girls ev’rywhere,
Some are sweet and petite,
Very neat on their feet.
Some are vast with a colourful past,
But for partners they all compete!
Though we’re courted in language flow’ry,
Not a word of it’s ever meant.
If we’re titled and saddled with a big fat dowry,
Husbands are quite content.


BOTH:                        That fellow Cupid,
He’s not so stupid,
He makes us blind before he moves in for the kill
It’s when you’re landed,
Completely stranded,
You notice that the men are all deceivers still!



(Exeunt both.)


Scene I5


(Enter SYLVA and EDWIN.)


EDWIN:                      Sylva, you’re just trying to fool yourself. Every look, every word makes it obvious - you’re not happy. (SYLVA makes as if to reply, EDWIN takes her hand.) You can’t be happy!


SYLVA:                     Why not? I have a husband who worships me. I’m a Countess. Even Princes open their doors to me.


EDWIN:                      But you’re not fooling me. You don’t care a jot for Boni. You just married him to get your own back on me. (SYLVA is about to reply) I’m not blaming you - appearances were against me. But now we both know what really happened, and you can’t go on fighting against it - you’re still in love with me. (SYLVA moves away from him, he turns round to face him) Sylva, you are, aren’t you?


SYLVA:                     Please let me go! (EDWIN clasps her to him, kisses her.)




Scene 16

(BONI has entered in time to see what is happening.)

BONI:                         (Dramatically) Ha!

(SYLVA frees herself from EDWIN, runs offstage Slight pause. EDWIN remains stock still, BONI strides up and down, glaring dramatically)

EDWIN:                      (Standing like an officer on parade.) Count Kanscianu -


BONI:                         Prince Lippert-Weylersheim?


EDWIN:                      I am ready to give you satisfaction.


BONI:                         (Nervously) Don’t worry about that, old fellow. The word is mightier than the sword - and a lot less messy.


EDWIN:                      (Still very formal.) Very well. Count!.. er... (Searches for words) Boni!


BONI:                         (Loftily) Take your time, my boy, take your time.


EDWIN:                      Tell me, are we friends?


BONI:                         Not if you pinch my lines.


EDWIN:                      (Impulsively) Boni, I can’t live without your wife. Let her go! (Grabs BONI’s lapels, shakes him) Let her go!


BONI:                         (Resolutely) You let me go! Stop it! You can have anything of mine; just don’t shake me!


EDWIN:                      (Intensely) Boni, give her to me - let her divorce you!


(Slight pause. BONI stares at EDWIN in astonishment, then smiles, goes up to EDWIN, takes his head in both hands, kisses him on both cheeks and speaks, very theatrically)

BONI:                         My marriage - what is my marriage? Take her dear boy - she’s yours!

EDWIN:                      You really mean it? Boni! (Embraces him)



Scene 17

(SYLVA enters, sees the two men embracing. EDWIN rushes up to her)

Sylva, everything’s all right! I’m the happiest man in the world! Your husband agrees to a divorce!

SYLVA:                     Boni, you haven’t ... ?


BONI:                         (Tremendously dramatic) Madame, our marriage is over! To be married with none of the advantages of marriage - that is not the marriage I married for when I married. A wife who starts being unfaithful before she’s started being faithful cannot in good faith be called a faithful wife. After the shameful scene that I have witnessed with both my eyes, my heart is turning in its grave, and our life together is over. Never more can we share bed and board. Well, board maybe from time to time, and the other we never got around to. Be happy, as I too hope to find happiness! (Exit)


Scene 18



EDWIN:                      Sylva!

SYLVA:                     Edwin!





EDWIN:                      Let me dance and let me sing,
And shout it to the skies,
Who could have dreamt I would capture
Such a prize?


SYLVA:                     Night is past,
It’s day at last,
And life is quite divine,
Mine is the love of a lifetime.
Mine all mine!


BOTH:                        I can hear the angels singing
“This is love”.
In my heart the echo’s ringing
“This is love”
All my dreams of happiness
At last come true,
For darling you belong to me,
And I to you!


SYLVA:                     Senses reeling,
What a feeling,
Bliss beyond compare,
Out of the window with sorrow
Goodbye care!


EDWIN:                      Tears are over,
We’re in clover,
Ev’rything’s all right!
Somehow a miracle happened
Here tonight!


BOTH:                        I can hear the angels singing “This is love”.
In my heart the echo’s ringing “This is love”.
All my dreams of happiness
At last come true,
So let the world just go to blazes,
I love you!




I can hear the angels singing,
“This is love”.
In my heart the echo’s ringing
“This is love”.


(BOTH:)                     All my dreams of happiness
At last come true,
For darling you belong to me
And I to you.


EDWIN:                      And now, my darling, we must go to my father.


SYLVA:                     (Alarmed) How will you tell him?


EDWIN:                      I’ll come straight out with it - “I’m in love with Countess Kanscianu, and can’t live without her”.


SYLVA:                     But when he finds out that I’m Sylva Varescu?


EDWIN:                      But you’re not, not any more. You’re the Countess Kanscianu. Your marriage to Boni has been an absolute God-send.


SYLVA:                     What on earth do you mean?

EDWIN:                      Look, crazy as it may seem, none of these people (With a general gesture towards the ballroom) would raise an eyebrow about a Lippert-Weylersheim marrying a divorced Countess Kanscianu.


SYLVA:                     (Quietly) There’d be no disgrace in that?

EDWIN:                      (Pacing up and down excitedly, deep in his own thoughts about the future, not picking up the real importance of SYLVA’s words) None at all.


SYLVA:                     But if I were still just Sylva Varescu, the cabaret singer?




EDWIN:                      (spoken) (His full attention returning to SYLVA.)
Sylva, let’s not look for difficulties. The great thing is, this way it’s going to work! The other way we’d have had such problems thrown in our path– I sometimes think we’d never have been really happy.

SYLVA:                     (Hiding deep distress) I see.

EDWIN:                      (Tenderly) What’ s the matter?


SYLVA:                     Nothing - just memories.


EDWIN:                      Don’t worry about memories. We can afford to forget the past ... let’s enjoy the present, and the future!


STASI:                        (Enters laughingly from the ballroom.) Edwin, you’re turning me into a wall-flower! I don’t usually have to fetch my dancing partners. Would you excuse us, Countess?


(SYLVA nods, STASI leads EDWIN towards the ballroom, looks back briefly at SYLVA. Speaks to EDWIN)

I could start getting suspicious!

(They dance off, SYLVA crosses to the door of the ballroom, watches them sadly. She returns to the table, picks up a bell, rings it. A FOOTMAN enters.)

FOOTMAN:               Madame?

SUVA:                        My coat please.

FOOTMAN:               Immediately, Madame. (Exit)

SYLVA:                     He’s ashamed of me!

FOOTMAN returns with SYLVA’s coat, helps her put it on, bows, exit. SYLVA  turns to leave, slowly, with head low.)

He’s ashamed of Sylva Varescu! If he knew ... (sung) Believe in happiness, It’s ev’rywhere around you.

(Enter PRINCE, PRINCESS, followed by full company except EDWIN, BONI and STASI.)

PRINCE:                     Now then, what’s this? You can’t be leaving, Countess?


SYLVA:                     I’m very tired.


PRINCESS:                Come, my dear - all the gentlemen will be heartbroken. Please change your mind.


GUESTS:                    You must stay, Countess. Don’t desert us etc. etc.


PRINCESS:                (Aside to PRINCE) Leopold Maria, I think this would be the moment!


PRINCE:                     You’re right, Anhilte.


PRINCESS:                Yes, Leopold Maria!


PRINCE:                     (To the COMPANY) I have a surprise for you all - an announcement of the greatest importance to the House of Lippert-Weylersheim! (To SYLVA.) Surely you won’t leave us now!


SYLVA:                     (Hesitates, then very resolutely) I’ll stay!


GUESTS:                    Bravo, splendid, etc. etc.



PRINCE:                     My dear, my very dear friends! I have a happy announcement to make. (Clears his throat) Two hearts which, since early youth, have been united in love for one another - my only son Edwin ...


EDWIN:                      Father!


PRINCE:                     ... my beloved niece Stasi ...


EDWIN:                      (Spoken, gradually changing into the singing voice)
Forgive me Father, Stasi forgive me!
But our betrothal cannot be announced.
My hopes of happiness lie elsewhere,
Someone else has won my heart.
The passion which I thought had vanished,
Vanished into empty air,
Returns again with strength redoubled,
And banishes my dull despair.
For now I hear the angels singing
“This is love”.
In my heart the echo’s ringing
“This is love”.
Nothing in the world can separate us two,
For darling you belong to me and I to you.


CHORUS:                  Golden dreams of happiness
At last come true
If all your love belongs to her, -
And hers to you!


STASI:                        (To EDWIN.)
Just follow your conviction with sincerity,
To your own heart be true,
And if you find the happiness of which you’ve
My blessing goes with you.


PRINCE:                     (To EDWIN, very sternly.) This other woman- who
is she?

EDWIN:                      Father, it’s ...


SYLVA:                     I am the other woman!


PRINCESS:                You Countess?

GUESTS:                    The Countess? etc. etc.


EDWIN:                      (Joyfully) Yes, it’s the Countess Kanscianu!

PRINCE:                     Countess, is this some kind of joke?

SYLVA:                     No, it’s no joke. (Looking hard at EDWIN.) But there is something I must tell you all. I am not Boni’s wife.


EDWIN:                      Not Boni’s wife?

SYLVA:                     No.

EDWIN:                      So you’re not ...


SYLVA:                     (Interrupting him.) ... a Countess? No, but I am much more than that. (Addressing the full company.) I am a Princess Lippert-Weylersheim!


PRINCE:                     What on earth do you mean?


SYLVA:                     (Producing the document from Act 1.) Your Highness, you have it here in black and white, signed by your own son! (Hands the paper to the PRINCE)


EDWIN:                      Sylva, what are you doing?


PRINCE:                     (Reads in horrified disbelief) “I Edwin Ronald ... solemnly declare ... Fräulein Sylva Varescu. ... within eight weeks ... (To SYLVA.) So you are Sylva Varescu, the Gipsy Princess?



SYLVA:                     I am. But if I wanted ... (Takes back the document.)
The eight weeks have a few more hours to run.

EDWAIN:                   I have no need to change my decision,
The contract still stands,
It’s my one ambition
To make you my wife


(EDWIN:)                   The pact is not broken, Proudly let the words be spoken. This is my wife!


SYLVA:                     No, Edwin, you cannot be blamed
That you were born so high,
I would not want your Highness shamed
By one as low as I!
We were blind when troth we plighted,
Our two worlds can’t be united!
(She tears up the document)


& CHORUS:              (spoken) You are free!

EDWIN:                      (sung) What pain in her voice!
How harsh a price to pay!
Can nothing more, nothing more,
Help them to find their way?


SYLVA:                     (spoken) Sylva, don’t go!

EDWIN:                      It’s the best way. (With great emphasis) We’d have had such problems thrown in our path - we’d never have been really happy!


(SYLVA gives BONI a sign to help her on with her coat. He drapes it round her shoulders, glances from SYLVA to EDWIN from EDWIN to SYLVA)

BONI:                         (sung) (Shaking his head with very underplayed humour)

That fellow Cupid
He can be stupid -
He makes us blind and then forgets to clear our eyes.

(While BONI helps SYLVA with her coat, the PRINCE gives a discreet sign to a FOOTMAN, who fetches BONI’s hat and coat. BONI takes his things and follows SYL VA, who has already turned to leave. He looks very sadly towards STASI, bows to her, bows left and right to the guests, and saunters, the comedy still very underplayed, after SYLVA. EDWIN wants to run to SYLVA, but the PRINCE blocks his path)

CHORUS:                  That’s how love takes you,
That’s how love breaks you,
And then you’ve lost your love before you realize!

(As the curtain falls, SYLVA and BONI are still visible, their backs to the audience, just about to leave the stage)

End of Act II

No. 13 and 1/2 INTERMEZZO


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