Out of the Wings

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Accidente (c.1995), Lluïsa Cunillé Salgado

English title: Accident
Notable variations on Spanish title: Accident (Catalan title)
Date written: c. 1995
Keywords: love > friendship, identity, power > inter-personal/game play
Genre and type: comedy

A car accident brings two men together. Over one hot summer they strike up a strange and comical relationship, working together in a fan factory.


Two men meet in a hospital ward. Man 2 has come to visit Man 1. They do not know each other. An accident has brought them together. Man 2 knocked Man 1 down with his car and is desperate to make sure that the injured man is okay. Apart from a broken arm, Man 1 is fine. In fact, he apologises profusely to Man 2, who has been so traumatised by the accident that he has decided never to drive again. Man 1, however, insists that he deliberately stepped out into the road. He does not give any explanation as to why he would do such a thing. Man 1 buys and sells dubiously-sourced items for profit. Currently, he has a warehouse filled with over 20,000 fans which he intends to sell over the summer. Man 1 is convinced that the coming summer will be the hottest in 100 years, and that he will make a fortune selling his fans. And so, to show that there are no hard feelings after the accident, Man 1 offers Man 2 a job at his warehouse, helping him sell the fans.

Over the summer months, Man 1 and Man 2 gradually get to know one another at the warehouse. Man 1 learns that Man 2 likes to appear in the audience at game shows, Man 2 discovers Man 1’s desire to set up business in Buenos Aires. At the beginning of the summer, the fans do not sell as well as Man 1 hopes, and he worries about how he will pay his bills. Eventually, however, as the summer heats up, the fans start flying off the shelves. Man 1 is elated. Soon, he will be able to head off to Buenos Aires. He asks if Man 2 and his wife would come with him for a holiday. Man 2, however, reveals that he has found another job which he hopes to begin imminently. In fact, over the course of the summer months, Man 2 has regained much of the confidence he lost after the accident. He has even started driving again. Now, he is off to pastures new, to work in a petrol station. Man 1, however, is reluctant to see his colleague leave. He suggests they become business partners in Buenos Aires. The men argue over their respective futures and whether they should remain together. It is an argument exacerbated by the ominous sound of someone outside their office door. Man 1 is worried. He admits that some of the items in the warehouse might not have been his to sell, and that he also owes some people money. He finally concludes that the man outside must in fact be the owner of the warehouse, who is one of his creditors. To remedy the situation, Man 1 goes out of the office into the main warehouse. We hear the sound of a forklift truck crashing against something, and then Man 1 returns, stating evasively that no one was there.

After this incident, the men resume their arguing. Man 1 accuses Man 2 of cowardice, of not wanting to go to Buenos Aires for fear of success. He fires Man 2, just as Man 2 himself decides to resign. But once again, despite their differences, it seems the men are destined to remain together. Ambulance sirens announce yet another accident. This time, it is Man 2 who is injured, with Man 1 now sitting anxiously by his hospital bed. Man 2 has crashed his car on purpose. Like Man 1 at the beginning of the play, Man 2 gives no reason for his decision to endanger himself. Once again, Man 1 suggests they go to Buenos Aires together. In the end, the men decide to make the journey, right there and then in the hospital. They pretend to be pilots, and guide their make-believe plane in to land.

Critical response

Accident won the Institució de Lletres Catalanes Prize in 1997.

Information about the editions

The playwright translated the text from the original Catalan into Spanish.

Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 13 October 2011.

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