Out of the Wings

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La carta (2003), Luis Miguel González Cruz

English title: The Letter
Date written: 2003
First publication date: 2004
First production date: January 2004
Keywords: ideology > politics, history > change/revolution, power > war, power > use and abuse, society, art > censorship, ideology > war, violence > social, violence > torture

Like a rabid dog, the past can pursue us relentlessly.


A rabid dog howls in pain outside in a small village. Mad with rage at its presence, the villagers are torturing it. Yet it refuses to die. Inside a house, Miguel can hear the animal’s agonising screams. Miguel wonders if the dog has infected anyone else with rabies. It is too early to tell, since it takes 21 days for the symptoms to show themselves. Miguel gets an important letter telling him he is being reinstated as Postmaster. This news is shared with a priest and a police guard who are present. They welcome the news and offer justifications for the actions of Miguel, and possibly themselves, during a time of war. They talk about how letters were opened and read. People’s thoughts and ideas were therefore scrutinised and condemned, supposedly to save the lives of others.

Miguel, however, is unconvinced that people can escape the repercussions of their wartime behaviour. For him, the ideological intolerance which led to the opening of letters is catching up with them. Ominously, Miguel tells the priest that a man was bitten yesterday by the rabid dog. In 20 days’ time, this man will start to show the effects of rabies. Miguel asks the priest whether he will be able to be kind to the infected man. He suggests that the priest will have to conduct his duties in fear and in danger, since the rabid man will experience a desire to bite him. In this way, the priest would be given rabies, and the terrible infection would spread.

Further information

This play is thematically linked to another of the playwright’s short plays, La rabia (Rabies). In that play, a rabid man is visited by a priest. At the end of the play, the infected man admits that he was tempted to bite the priest’s hand.

  • González Cruz, Luis Miguel. 2004. ‘La carta’. In Intolerancia, Teatro del Astillero 13. Madrid, Teatro del Astillero

  • González Cruz, Luis Miguel. 2007. La carta. Alicante, Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/obra/la-carta--1/ [accessed November 2011] (Online Publication)

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Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 30 November 2011.

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