Out of the Wings

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El amor constante (1596-1599), Guillén de Castro


This is a three-act comedia.


The play is set in Hungary, with a large portion of it taking place in the royal palace. Leonora and Nisida perform a dance, and a song is sung. Some of the men carry swords, including the Duke and the King’s servants, but seemingly not the King, as he has to borrow one from his servants to wound the Duke in the first act. Leonido wears a cross adorned with sapphires and emeralds, and this piece of jewellery becomes important in the final act.

At the start of act 2 the scene changes to the mountainside, where Leonido has been raised by his old surrogate father, a shepherd. Rosela carries the portrait of a woman. A lion appears in the second act; Leonido defeats it offstage. There is a scene in the dark, when the King and his servants, Celauro and Leonido are all dressed for night-time (capes and hats) and cannot see one another. Leonido accidentally attacks the King, not recognising him in the dark. This could be staged as a street scene with Nisida looking on from a balcony above.

In the third act the action returns to the palace, and the King evicts his wife and daughter from their royal seats; this could be interpreted literally with thrones for the Queen and Princess which the Duke and Nisida are then asked to fill. The scene then shifts locations rapidly, from the mountainside to the palace dungeon. In the middle of act 3, in the dungeon there are some very specific stage directions, which is rare; the Duke is described as handcuffed and chained, and Nisida with her three servants and two pedestals, one with a dagger, one with a vial of poison. In that scene the King gags and blindfolds the Duke, and Nisida drinks the poison. Just after this Celauro is attacked by the King’s servants, and as he dies Leonido shows him the jewelled cross, and Celauro produces a piece of paper with writing upon it describing that cross. Celauro writes in his own blood on the back of that paper. Near the end there is a discovery space scene where Leonido pulls aside a curtain to reveal the bodies of Celauro and Nisida. Leonido kills the King. Leonido is crowned King, but he takes off the crown and gives it to Leonora, his Queen.

Cast number
Minimum Maximum
6 males 15 males
3 females 4 females
9 (total) 19 (total)
Cast information
Plus additional servants and entourage
  • KING
  • NISIDA, Noble lady, daughter of the Duke
  • PRINCE CELAURO, Brother to the King
  • DUKE, Nisida’s father
  • LEONIDO, Raised as a shepherd but secretly the illegitimate son of Nisida and Celauro
  • ROSELA, A girl
  • SERGIO, Musician
  • OLD SHEPHERD, Surrogate father to Leonido
  • CELANDINO, Servant
  • SERVANTS (3)
  • ENTOURAGE of the Princess, and Others

Entry written by Kathleen Jeffs. Last updated on 25 February 2011.

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