Out of the Wings

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Animales nocturnos (2001-2003), Juan Mayorga Ruano


The play is divided into 10 scenes.


Animales nocturnos (Nocturnal Creatures) is set over a number of locations. Characteristically, Juan Mayorga provides very little detailed staging information.

Notable staging elements

  • Scene 1 is set in a café, where Tall Man and Short Man share a bottle of wine.
  • Tall Man’s apartment sits below that of Short Man. It is small, with shelves of books, language dictionaries and photographs. The light flickers on and off periodically, and the sound of the television from Short Man’s apartment is audible through the walls.
  • Short Man’s apartment is larger than Tall Man’s. It contains a fish tank and a television.
  • In scene 4 Short Man and Tall Man meet in the Nocturnal Creatures enclosure in the zoo. It is a dark space, and they face the audience in such a way that it seems that the spectators are the nocturnal animals the men are looking at.
  • In scene 7 Tall Woman visits her husband’s workplace, a small office in a nursing home. Numbered lights on a panel light up to indicate which resident requires assistance. The Tall Man watches a small television, and has a mop and bucket. There is a basket of dirty clothes in the room. Voices of various elderly residents can be heard through the intercom.
  • Scene 8 is set on a bench in a park.
  • In scene 9 Short Woman visits Short Man at his office. He sits at a desk with a computer and telephone.
  • In scene 10 Tall Man visits Short Man’s apartment. Short Man has made a miniature electric train set, with little dolls for people. At the end of the play, the little train moves off. Tall Woman, meanwhile, departs for the actual train station, and watches a train arrive.
Cast number
Minimum Maximum
2 males 2 males
2 females 2 females
4 (total) 4 (total)
Cast information
Although the characters are named Tall Man/Tall Woman, Short Man/Short Woman, the playwright states that the actors do not necessarily have to be tall or short to play the parts. In addition, critics have noted that the actor playing Tall Man in a number of productions is often more handsome and graceful looking than Short Man, and that his accent and appearance in no way betrays his illegal immigrant status.

Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 18 November 2010.

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