The first act of Operetta takes place before World War I, around the year 1910, in a church square near the Castle Himalaj. The protagonist, Count Szarm, son of the prince and princess Himalaj, desires to seduce a young girl named Albertynka. The problem is that he has never been introduced to her. Thus, he searches for a way to start up a “casual” acquaintance with her. He hires a petty thief to steal a medallion from her neck while she is sleeping on a bench. The count then “catches” the thief, retrieves the stolen medallion, and thus has a pretext for an introduction. During her sleep, however, Albertynka feels the hand of the thief, and from this time onward will constantly fall into sleep in order to relive the experience of that touch. The touch was not that of a thief but, rather, that of a lover. Count Szarm’s plans are thus foiled, for Albertynka has come under the spell of someone else. From this time on, she dreams of “nudity,” which is especially unfortunate for the count, as he is ashamed of nudity and loves to dress up. He would like to dress the girl in clothes from the best stores, while she only desires that he undress her.
At this time, Master Fior, a world-renowned fashion designer, arrives. A ball is subsequently arranged at the Castle Himalaj, in connection with a fashion show. Fior, who is to rule the fashion world for the next few years, is unsure what his next famous style will be. Acceding to the advice of Count Koniarz Hufnagiel, Fior decides that all guests at the ball will create and present their own “styles of the future.” All are to cover themselves (and their creations) with large bags, which they are to take off at an appointed moment, uncovering their new clothes. In this way, Fior hopes to get some ideas for his new line. A committee will give out awards to those judged...
(The entire section is 754 words.)