The Swineherd

The Swineherd is an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Swineherd, written and directed by Anke Hartmann. Every year, she produces a dramatized fairy tale in the picturesque courtyard of the castle at Greiz, which is in the east of Germany, south of Leipzig and near the border with the Czech Republic. This was the production in June 2011.

It’s another of those stories about a king who just doesn’t know how to deal with his arrogant daughter, and takes almost the whole of the play to realize just what it is that she needs. He’s also pretty ineffectual in other ways too, because throughout the play, he’s forever summoning the executioner (Konstantin Vetter), but never actually has him execute anyone.

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Not until the end, anyway, when the recipient of his professional attentions, though thankfully not of his axe, is the spoiled Princess Tusnelda.

She’s played by Anne Münzner, seen here in real life…

Anne Munzner 1Anne Munzner 2

… and here dressed for her part in the play:

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The Princess has rejected 453 candidates for her hand in marriage. The King seems determined to force her to marry the next suitor to present himself, whoever he may be. It turns out to be a swineherd – but no ordinary swineherd. He’s actually suitor no. 453, a prince, who has come back in disguise for a second try, with a view to teaching Tusnelda a much-needed lesson in humility. His stratagem entails tempting the Princess to demand tasks of him, for which he demands payment in the form of kisses, more and more every time:

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But all to no avail: Tusnelda, who has turned down so many suitors, ends up being rejected herself. For a lovestruck young lady has been following the Prince around, disguised as a man. And so the Prince ultimately finds his true love … and the Princess gets spanked.

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And what’s more, this is a play from central Europe, where they firmly believe that public spankings for naughty, haughty princesses should be administered without the dignity, or the protection, of a skirt or petticoats.

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There are photographs of the spanking scene from two different performances. Those shown so far are from the final performance on June 25. The next one is from an earlier day, and there’s an interesting difference in terms of what Anne Münzner is wearing – but you’ll have to look closely to spot it. No, I’m not talking about the presence or absence of an anklet above her left foot. Look higher…

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Tusnelda’s bloomers are very long and very lacy, but they are also just a little bit see-through, just enough to reveal the color of Anne’s panties underneath. At the final performance, they’re pink… but in the other picture, the one with the anklet, they’re white!

And so the executioner releases the spanked, humbled Tusnelda.

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The play had five performances and drew disappointingly small audiences, but it was enthusiastically received by those who saw it, and the spanking in particular got a huge laugh.

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Applause, please, for the cast of Der Schweinehirt!

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