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Kismet is a three-act play written in 1911, about a beggar who pretends to be a sorcerer for one day... long enough for him to get lots of money, be promoted to the nobility, and win the hand of the villain's clever wife, Lalume. It also happens to be the same day that his daughter, Marcinah, meets and falls in love with the handsome Caliph. In 1953 it was made into a musical, using the (VERY altered!) music of Borodin (most notably, the Polovetsian Dances).

There are several film adaptations, the most famous being the 1944 play version starring Marlene Dietrich, and the 1955 musical version with Howard Keel and Dolores Grey.


This show features examples of:

  • Aside Glance — "I want to take you to the Harem." POET: (glance) "Must I?"
  • Awesome but Impractical — Those slave girls may look gorgeous, but they can't carry a litter.
  • Badass Boast — Consciously done, when the Poet is pretending to be a summoner. "I'm calling on my powers!"
  • Bawdy Song — Especially the way Dolores Gray sings 'em.
  • Becoming the Mask — The Poet goes from trying to convince people that he's not a wizard, to enjoying the pretense, to believing it... in the space of about an hour.
  • Berserk Button — The poet snaps only when the Wazir threatens Marcinah. Threatening to cut his hands off just got him to sing.
  • Beware the Nice Ones — The Poet seems quite amiable. He's also capable of holding a man underwater until he drowns, while casually talking to the Caliph.
  • Catch Phrase — "Faaaate..."
  • Costume Porn — Especially Lalume
  • Crowning Music of Awesome — YMMV, but any of the dance pieces combining Prince Igor with Big Band Swing are just epic.
  • Distracted by the Luxury — Marcinah stops caring where her father got the gold as soon as he buys her a new outfit.
    • Subverted by Lalume, "I would like my husband to think that it was his harem that enticed you to remain here..."
  • Distant Duet — "And This is my Beloved"
  • Double Entendre — Pick any conversation between the Poet and Lalume. Or any song. Also, the Poet singing a love song to his hand in a song called "Gesticulate"...
  • Everything's Better with Princesses
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar — Rahadlakum! (You tell me they're singing about Turkish delight...)
  • It Got Worse — The Wazir's idea of justice: "Cut off his right hand..." (After protests) "Add twenty lashes!" (More protests) "It's his tongue that should be cut off!"
  • Melismatic Vocals — "So-o-o-o-o-o-o teeny!"
  • Only Sane Man — Lalume and the Poet both fall into this trope, especially when they're talking to the Wazir.
  • Rags to Royalty Marcinah
  • The Voiceless — The princesses of Ababul. They whistle, though.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance — 1950's big band swing in an Arabian Nights style story?
  • Summon Backup Dancers — In Not Since Ninevah.
  • Vocal Tag Team — Lalume and the Poet
  • WTH Costuming Department — The hats in the 1955 version are unreal.
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