Schimpanse, der Darwinaffe - Franz von Pocci
A monkey with styled hair and sideburns is standing in a reverential way, like a domestic, with Casperl's costume.


23 pages


Schimpanse, der Darwinaffe

Intermezzo in einem Aufzug

Franz von Pocci | 1873 | Munich, Germany
Genre (as defined by the author)
Gerstenzucker, Casperl Larifari, Grethl, Fräulein Blaustrumpf, Bürgermeister Neurer, Schöppler, Thürmüller, Spritzler, Ein Gerichtsdiener, Schimpanse
Number of acts

In the last decades of 19th century, Darwinism as a school of thought went largely beyond the original theory of evolution developed by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) in On the Origin of Species in 1869. Instead, “Darwinism” was often used to refer to “social Darwinism” – a concept defined by philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). Pocci’s Schimpanse, der Darwinaffe is as invested in satirizing Darwin’s theories – which the author had little understanding of – as it is in attacking its sectarians, who wanted to draw a straight line from monkeys to humans beings. Pocci’s play first ended differently – with the releasing of Kasperl and a play on the word “monkey” (which can mean hangover in German) by the mayor. Pocci changed it for the less witty but – according to him – more effective version presented here. Yet, the 1875 edition and most of the following editions kept the first version.

Plot summary

A foul-mouth hero sows discord in town

Casperl is evicted by his landlord and starts looking for a job. He is employed by professor and explorer Gerstenzucker, as…a monkey! Indeed, the professor’s monkey, Schimpanse, has just died. He was trying to teach him human culture to prove that man and monkey are related. But Casperl is ill-behaved. He poses as Gerstenzucker and treats one of his female visitors with extreme uncouthness. Then he fights the professor, wreaks havoc on the inn and sows discord in town. Everyone ends up at the police station, where the fake monkey is exposed. As other characters try to throw him behind bars, Casperl knocks everyone unconscious and, at the end of the play, goes drinking to celebrate the final victory of Darwinism.

Composition date

First performance

Munich, Germany, 1874 -

Münchner Marionettentheater

Publications and translations


Franz Pocci: Lustiges Komödienbüchlein, fünftes Bändchen. München, Ernst Stahl: 1875

Modern edition

Franz von Pocci: Lustiges Komödienbüchlein 5. Editio Monacensia, München, Allitera Verlag, 2010

Literary tones
Comical, Satirical, Farcical
Animations techniques
String marionette
Young audiences
Public domain


Theatrical techniques


Written by

Jean Boutan