A Peek at the Plot !

or

Castle Adamant

Act I

Hilarian

Everyone at King Hildebrand’s castle is excited, for Princess Ida, betrothed 20 years ago to Prince Hilarion by her father, King Gama, is to finally meet her prince. Hilarion anticipates his fiancee with a cheerful song, but confesses he has heard a rumor she has forsworn the world of men and shut herself up in a manor converted to a women’s university, and despite his father’s reassurances, is still uneasy.

King Hildebrand

When Gama is seen approaching without the princess, King Hildebrand threatens war, but bids his retainers to receive the delegation with courtesy and gifts. Of course if they don’t honor the bargain they will enjoy the courtesy of a dungeon instead.

 

King Gama enters.

Gama’s three bumbling son’s enter, singing of their valorous deeds, and escorting their father, a spiteful curmudgeon who cannot help alienating others when he points out their shortcoming. He admits in song that others think he is “a most disagreeable man”, but he “cant think why!”.

 

Princess Ida

Gama confirms that Ida refuses to leave her fortified “university” where she teaches a curriculum that excludes all mention of males. Even the morning wake-up crow is done “by an accomplished hen!”

 

Florian

Hilarion and his friends Cyril and Florian vow to pierce the schools’ defenses, but Gama warns them to beg and sue “most politely”. Hildebrand, unconvinced, says Gama will remain as hostage, and if the suitors are harmed, Gama will be hung, also “most politely”.

Act II

Lady Blanche

In the gardens of Ida’s Castle Adamant, Lady Blanche is telling the students how to eschew masculine topics. Two students are punished for such offenses as possessing a set of chessmen or sketching a perambulator. Ida appears to give her inaugural address, a tirade against Man. The students leave to hear a lecture by Lady Psyche, leaving Blanche to reflect that she would make a far better university Principal than the Princess.

 

Discovered!

Hilarion and his two friends are discovered climbing over the outer wall. Finding some discarded academic robes they decide to pose as well-born maidens who wish to join the university. Meeting Ida, they barely manage to preserve their secret, but when celebrating after Ida leaves, they are recognized by Lady Psyche, Florian’s sister, and must confess. Psyche promises to keep their secret but warns them that if they are discovered, the penalty is death.

 

Melissa, a student, encounters them and is so fascinated on seeing a man for the first time, also agrees to shield them. But Lady Blanche becomes suspicious of the new “girls” since two are tenors and one a baritone and is horrified to discover that their purses contain cigars! Melissa, her daughter, plays upon Blanche’s jealousy of Ida and reminds her that if they can persuade Ida to marry Hilarion, Blanche will rule the school.

Daughters of the Plough

The “Daughters of the Plough” appear bearing lunch. Unfortunately Cyril imbibes too much and breaking into the famous “Kissing Song” reveals the trio are men. In panic, Princess Ida runs away and falls into the moat, but Hilarion rescues her. Ida is still furious and has the men arrested. Hildebrand appears with an armed band who batter down the gates. Gama’s three sons plead with their sister to relent, otherwise they will be hanged. Given one day for her decision, Ida hurls defiance at the invaders.

Ida defies Hildebrand

Act III

Where are your rifles?

Ida attempts to rally the students to battle, but alas, not one is willing to participate. They have not even brought their issued rifles for fear “they might go off”. Gama tells her that Hildebrand is loath to fight women, and that instead, Hilarion and his friends will battle Gama’s sons for the decision. Reluctantly Ida agrees. The contest takes place and Hilarion’s side wins handily. Ida sadly resigns her post, which Blanche promptly assumes. Lady Psyche pairs off with Cyril, Melissia with Florian. Ida reconsiders her heretofore total contempt for man and her off-hand rejection of Hilarion’s professed love and the operetta ends with “joy abiding.”

 

Gama’s sons.