Heilbronn / Kathy of Heilbronn / Theme of the Play
Theme of the Play
“When Kathy went down the street in her Sunday best, with her straw hat gleaming yellow, her black velvet bodice and her little silver chain, there were whispers at every window ...
... ‘There she goes – Kathy of Heilbronn!’ Kathy of Heilbronn, gentlemen, was as though begotten by the Swabian sky, impregnating with its kiss the town below, which then gave birth to her." (Act 1, Scene 1)
Kathy, the charming and wealthy daughter of a
Heilbronn armourer, has found the man of her
dreams, Count Wetter vom Strahl – but, sadly,
class differences are in the way of their
However, that does not stop the commoner
girl from following, in mysterious devotion,
every single step her cherished knight takes.
She even allows herself to be humiliated
just to be close to him.
In the meantime, Strahl believes that he has
found his bride as foretold in a dream, namely
the daughter of an Emperor: Kunigunde von
Thurneck, who is befitting his rank.
However, Kathy has also had an apparition of
an angel at the very same time, who presented her Strahl as her husband-to-be.
But before this heavenly prophecy can come true, Kathy must pass an “ordeal by fire”. Towards the end, a final “miracle” happens – Kathy, in truth a child of the Emperor, is led to the altar by the Count.
(Text by Günther Emig, Sembdner Kleist Archive)