Author Gerhart Hauptmann tells from where he extracted the theme in his autobiography. When he lived in Erkner it occurred to him to go take elocution lessons from a former director of the Royal Theatre of Strasbourg, who, upon leaving office, had taken lot of costumes, furniture and other objects to save the theater, waiting for better luck on an old barracks where, for a living, he gave lessons. This character is one of the protagonists, Hassenrevter. Alongside the comedy of the "comedian" is developed, at the same time, the tragedy of a woman who, disappointed in her desire for maternity, steals the child of a single mother and tries to make her husband understand that he is hers. When the deception is discovered, Mrs. John kills herself.