Out of the Wings

You are here:

Juego de 2 (1997-2008), Raúl Hernández Garrido

English title: 2-Player Game
Notable variations on Spanish title: Juego de 2: La persistencia de la imagen
Date written: from 1997 to 2008
First production date: 1997
Keywords: identity, identity > hierarchy, power, violence > cruelty, violence > personal, power > inter-personal/game play, power > use and abuse, love > lust, love > desire

Two lonely people. Female and male. The Body and the Client. She is there to sell herself, he to buy. Theirs is a business transaction laden with fear, intimidation and paranoia. This is a 2-player game, with dangerous consequences.


A young prostitute (the Body) gets a call from a prospective client (the Client). The call disturbs her, since none of the men she visits should know her home number. The man who has called her, however, is different. While the Body does not know it yet, the Client knows all about her. He knows her movements, her taste in music and where she goes at night. He has photographs of everything she does.

The Body agrees to meet the Client. A dispassionate man’s voice records the time she leaves her apartment, while grainy photographs projected on stage chart her walk through the streets to the Client’s house. The Client is young and attractive. The Body wonders why such a handsome man would need to use a prostitute. The Client’s large house also makes the Body hesitant, filled as it is with strange noises and broken mirrors. But while the house and its owner seem to harbour secrets, the Body has a secret of her own. As she and the Client make small talk, the Body reveals that she has been to the house before. She also reveals that she has met the Client before, although on that occasion nothing happened between them. The Client admits that they have indeed met previously. He claims that he got her private number from a friend because he was so enchanted by her.

With everything apparently out in the open, the Body decides to leave. But before she does so, the Client puts on a song. It is a song that the Body plays to herself, alone in her apartment during private moments. She is shocked to hear it at the Client’s house, and accuses him of stalking her. Once again, unsettled, she makes to leave. Yet again, however, she does not do so. Instead, the Body demands to know what exactly the Client knows about her. An argument ensues that becomes increasingly severe, to the extent that the Body takes out a gun. The Client is suddenly alarmed at the dangerous turn the night has taken. All his fight drains out of him. He tells the Body to go, promising to leave her alone in future. Uncertain at this sudden change of attitude, the Body carefully approaches the Client. It is only then that she realises the Client is blind.

Now that the Client’s blindness has been revealed, the dynamic between the characters changes. The Body is apologetic. She thinks that she has wrongly accused a blind man of stalking her. The Client simply wants his guest to leave. The Body’s alluring attempts to make up for her mistake soon win him over, however, and the couple kiss passionately. In the midst of their passion, the Client puts a blindfold on the Body and makes her stand semi-naked in the room. He turns on a slide projector. Blindfolded, the Body hears the clicks of slide after slide showing her going about her daily business. When the Body takes her blindfold off, she realises she was right all along about the Client. He has had her followed. The Body cries in shock and dismay as the Client shows her his collection of photos. He has captured every piece of her life on camera. Enraged, the Body attacks the Client. The struggle between them turns into violent lovemaking. It is a moment filled with conflicting emotions: passion, indifference, hatred, lust.

The Body retires to the bathroom to wash. She returns to a living room that is in complete darkness. Suddenly, thousands of flashlights go off. Terrified, the Body tries to shoot the Client with her gun. But he is used to the dark, while she is disorientated by the lights. Her shots miss him and soon there are no bullets left. When the lights go up, the Body looks around and realises that the entire room is a camera lens. It seems that she will indeed never escape the Client’s gaze. This time, it is the Body who loses her fight. The Client has won the game, and the Body says that she will stay with him. The Client, however, tells her that there will be no need for her to do that.

The play ends with a dispassionate man’s voice recording the time the Body returns home. Over another montage of grainy photos, the voice tells us just how scared and alone the Body felt in the Client’s house. She returns to her apartment and closes the blinds, so nobody can see in.


The playwright mentions a number of influences that inspired him to produce a play that focuses on watching and being watched. He notes his debt to Roland Barthes’s 1980 book Camera Lucida, which explores the effects of photography on the photographed subject. Hernández was also influenced by the dark, sexually charged novels of Christopher Frank, as well as by surrealist texts by Georges Bataille, including Story of the Eye, a 1928 novella charting the sexual perversions of two young lovers. Programme notes for both the 2005 and 2009 productions feature an extract from ‘The Solar Anus’, a short surrealist essay by Georges Bataille. The quotation reflects the tension between alienation and desire in 2-Player Game:

Love or infantile rage, or a provincial dowager's vanity, or clerical pornography, or the diamond of a soprano bewilder individuals forgotten in dusty apartments. They can very well try to find each other; they will never find anything but parodic images, and they will fall asleep as empty as mirrors. (Bataille 1931)

The play also features echoes of a number of Michelangelo Antonioni’s films, including Blow-Up (1966) and his 2004 short film Lo Sguardo di Michelangelo (Michelangelo Eye to Eye).


Hernández directly references the work of the French artist Sophie Calle. In particular, he mentions his debt to two of her pieces: The Shadow – in which she was followed around Paris by a private detective who took photos of her throughout the day – and The Blind in which she interviews blind people on their perspectives on beauty. The work of the blind photographer Evgen Bavcar is also a source of inspiration. Javier Alonso, in his review of the 2005 Madrid production, also noted a similarity between the look of the play and the work of the North American photographer Nan Goldin. Goldin is renowned for the photographs she takes of people in intimate, illicit and uninhibited situations (2005).

Critical response

The play has received good reviews. Juan Ignacio García Garzón was impressed by the play’s exploration of human beings’ desire for real experiences – with the Client finally eliciting moments of real (although twisted) feeling from the Body rather than just the simulated affections of a prostitute (2005).

Javier Villán calls attention to the second half of the play’s title: La persistencia de la imagen, noting how apt it is for theatre, a medium that can make visual images just as important as – if not more important than – the words spoken on stage (2005). With this in mind, a number of critics noted the subtlety of the play, in which much more is insinuated through the visuals than actually takes place (Alonso 2005).

  • Alonso, Javier. 2005. ‘El peligroso juego de la autodestrucción’, Guía del ocio, 11 June (in Spanish)

  • García Garzón, Juan Ignacio. 2005. ‘Un momento de verdad’, ABC, 4 June (in Spanish)

  • Villán, Javier. 2005. ‘La persistencia de la imagen’, El Cultural (El Mundo), 16 June (in Spanish)


Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 8 October 2011.

Tag this play

You must be logged in to add tags. Please log in or sign up for a free account.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please log in or sign up for a free account.

  • King's College London Logo
  • Queen's University Belfast Logo
  • University of Oxford Logo
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Logo