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Fritz, who considers himself a man-about-town in 1890s Vienna, is despondent because his affair with a sophisticated, upper-class lady has ended due to the lady's fear her husband might be aware of it. Fritz's friend Theodore tries to cheer Fritz up by introducing him to Christine, a seamstress for the opera. Theodore believes a dalliance with a charming lower-class woman can take a man's mind off his troubles. Almost immediately after the dalliance begins, Fritz receives a challenge from the sophisticated lady's husband. Fritz is not good with a pistol, and the husband has a reputation as an excellent shot, so Fritz knows he has little chance of surviving the duel. Ironically, in the few remaining days in his life, Fritz and Christine fall in love. Fritz sees the superiority of a simple life of mutual love over the bon vivant life of an urban bachelor. Beyond the addition of Stoppardian wit in the adaptation, Stoppard's major change from the original is to shift the last scene from Christine's apartment to backstage at the opera. A comic opera with a similar plot is taking place on stage when Christine hears the news that Fritz has been killed in a duel.
- Stoppard, Tom. "Dalliance." "Plays Four" London, Faber and Faber, 1999. pp. 1-72.