Out of the Wings

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De insomnio y medianoche (c.2006), Edgar Chías

English title: On Insomnia and Midnight
Date written: c. 2006
First publication date: 2008
First production date: 2006
Keywords: identity > gender, history > memory, history > narrative, power > inter-personal/game play, love > desire

In a hotel room in a provincial city, a man and the maid are talking.  But the more they talk, the more danger they face, and neither knows where it will lead.  On Insomnia and Midnight is a tale to frighten chambermaids in the night.


An aging man is dying in a hotel room.  Every night, in the small hours of the morning he asks a chambermaid to come to his room.  He asks the maid to tell him stories from her childhood: the ones about humiliation, sexual awakening, perversion and shame. The play depicts the age-old dynamic of a man, in mourning for his waning virility, being enchanted by a pubescent girl at the dawning of her own sexuality.  But there is not only enchantment, there is also power and cruelty exercised on both sides of the exchange.  Both are titillated by these encounters and the wielding of power in the relationship perpetually shifts. ‘Are we playing some sort of game?’, the maid asks, as the two experiment with and alternate the positions of victim and abuser.

A haunting story from the outside world infiltrates the intimate space of the hotel room when the maid relays an article in the newspaper about a woman throwing herself in the river as a result of her involvement with a schoolteacher in a hotel room.  Chías never allows us to know how this story is theirs.

Critical response

See Michael Billington’s review of the play in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2006/sep/26/theatre [Accessed July 2011]

  • Chías, Edgar. 2008. De insomnia y medianoche. México, Ediciones El Milagro

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Entry written by Gwendolen Mackeith. Last updated on 9 August 2011.

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