Out of the Wings

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Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín (1922-1926), Federico García Lorca


The play is divided into four scenes. Some versions of the play begin with scene 1 and end with scene 4. Others open with a prologue and then the action moves through scenes 1, 2 and 3. The structure of a prologue followed by three scenes is adopted here.

Each scene begins with an exchange between Don Perlimplín and his servant Marcolfa. The entrances and exits are structured in such a way that only two characters appear on stage at any one time. The ending of the play is an exception in that the dead body of Don Perlimplín is also present as Belisa and Marcolfa grieve. Throughout the play Marcolfa exits when Belisa enters.

The action occurs in the following locations:

  • The prologue takes place in Don Perlimplín’s house as Marcolfa urges him to marry, and he and Belisa’s mother arrange the marriage.
  • Scene 1 takes place in Don Perlimplín’s marital bedroom. In it Belisa is unfaithful to her husband with five different men. The audience do not see this because the two Sprites or Duendes pull a curtain over the scene.
  • Scene 2 takes place in Don Perlimplín’s dining room, in which the table is set in a manner reminiscent of the Last Supper.
  • Scene 3 takes place among cypresses and orange trees in Don Perlimplín’s garden.


The costumes in the play are overly elaborate for comic effect.


  • Perlimplín wears a green frock coat and a curly white wig.
  • Marcolfa, the maid, wears a striped uniform.
  • Belisa’s mother appears wearing an elaborate eighteenth-century wig complete with bird’s nest, trinkets and ribbons.
  • Belisa appears scantily clad on her balcony.

Scene 1

  • Belisa wears a large lacy nightdress for her wedding night. Her headdress cascades in lace down to the ground.
  • After hearing the guitar music serenading her, Belisa puts on a red velvet cape.
  • The Sprites or Duendes wear blue hoods.

There are no specific costume requirements for scene 2.

Scene 3

  • The red-caped stranger appears (who is, in fact, Don Perlimplín).



  • Don Perlimplín’s house is decorated with green walls, and tables and chairs painted in black.
  • There is a balcony at the back of the stage leading from Don Perlimplín’s house from where Belisa’s balcony is visible.

Scene 1

  • Don Perlimplín’s marital bed is decorated lavishly with feathers and cushions.
  • There are six doors along the walls. The first door on the right-hand side of the stage is used by Don Perlimplín as an exit and entrance. The other five doors lead out to balconies.
  • A grey curtain is pulled across the stage by the two Sprites to give Belisa and Perlimplín privacy on their first night together.
  • At the end of the scene a golden light falls on the marital bed as Belisa and Perlimplín see in the dawn.

Scene 2

  • The dining table in Perlimplín’s dining room is set with a primitive meal – resembling a rudimentary painting of the Last Supper.

Scene 3

  • The garden is lit by the light of the moon.
  • The stage is bathed in magical light as Perlimplín lies dying at the end of the scene.



  • At the end of the prologue a flock of black birds made out of paper pass by Perlimplín’s balcony.

Scene 1

  • At the beginning of this scene Marcolfa carries a candelabra.
  • Don Perlimplín wears two large golden stage horns on his head after his wife has been visited by the five men.
  • Another flock of paper birds pass by near the end of the scene.

Scene 2

  • A stone with a letter attached is thrown onto Perlimplín’s balcony, destined for Belisa.

Scene 3

  • This scene is set in the garden with orange trees and cypresses.

Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín (The Love of Don Perlimplín with Belisa in the Garden) features a considerable amount of sound effects, music and song. For the first performance in 1933, Lorca chose to use Scarlatti’s Harpsichord Sonatas to accompany the action.

There are a number of songs sung by Belisa, Perlimplín and voices off-stage.

When Belisa first appears on stage in the prologue a piano is heard playing.

In scene 1 Belisa hears guitars serenading her as she waits for Don Perlimplín to come to bed on their wedding night. Five whistles are heard twice as the couple prepare for bed. These signify the five men from the five races of the earth who are waiting to visit Belisa on her wedding night. When the Sprites pull the curtain across the stage during this scene, flutes play soft music. At the end of scene 1, morning bells ring out.

The bells that are heard at the end of scene 1 are also heard at the very end of the play.

Cast number
Minimum Maximum
3 males 3 males
3 females 3 females
6 (total) 6 (total)
Cast information
The Sprites or Duendes should be performed by two young boys. In some productions there have been more than two Sprites, so the maximum number of cast members might be more than six.
  • PERLIMPLÍN, Elderly bachelor
  • BELISA, Young, unfaithful wife of Perlimplín
  • MARCOLFA, Servant of Perlimplín
  • MYSTERIOUS MAN, Belisa's lover

Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 12 May 2011.

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