Out of the Wings

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La fuerza de la costumbre (1610-1615), Guillén de Castro


It is a three-act comedia.


The siblings, Felix and Hipolita, are cross-dressed; Felix is in long robes and Hipolita first appears in man’s clothes with a cape, a hat and a sword. But their costumes need to fit each other, or appear to be the same, so that they can swap clothes as they learn to wear the costume of their own gender over the course of the play (and Hipolita learns to wear high-heeled shoes). Swords are needed for the men, and wielded by Hipolita as well, and badly by Felix. The women need a place on the stage to sit down, for Costanza is shocked to find that Hipolita does not know how to sit like a lady. The women also need sewing materials for when Hipolita tries to learn women’s work and her brother shows her how it’s done. Just as in Castro’s Cid play, there is a fencing lesson. They also need both inside and outside locations, as Pedro takes his son to a ‘dangerous’ corner outside Leonor’s house, telling Felix to guard it for him. Leonor needs to appear at a window, preferably up above the street, so she can speak to Felix from above. Hipolita throws a glove or removable cuff down to her suitor as a favour, so she should have a removable embroidered glove/cuff at the ready. Letters are traded in the third act. Luis gives his servant a chain as a reward for delivering a message.


There is music; Octavio and Marcelo listen to Leonor sing.

Cast number
Minimum Maximum
7 males 15 males
4 females 6 females
11 (total) 21 (total)
Cast information
Plus additional servants, townspeople, etc.
  • DOÑA COSTANZA, Mother of Felix and Hipolita
  • DON PEDRO DE MONCADA, Father of Felix and Hipolita
  • DOÑA HIPOLITA, Daughter of Costanza and Pedro, sister to Felix
  • DON FELIX, Son of Costanza and Pedro, brother to Hipolita
  • DON LUIS, Brother to Leonor, in love with Hipolita
  • DOÑA LEONOR, Sister to Luis, in love with Felix
  • OTAVIO, Nobleman
  • MARCELO, Nobleman
  • OLD MAN, Felix’s tutor
  • GALVÁN, Lackey and gracioso
  • INÉS, Maidservant
  • MASTER-AT-ARMS, Fencing teacher
  • CHIEF BAILIFF, (alguacil)
  • BAILIFFS, (corchetes)


Entry written by Kathleen Jeffs. Last updated on 4 October 2010.

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