Out of the Wings

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Lo fingido verdadero (c.1608), Lope de Vega Carpio


This is a three-act comedia de santos. McGaha provides scene divisions and suggestions for the doubling of roles which should prove very useful to the theatre director. He divides the play into three acts: Act 1 contains four scenes, Act 2 has five scenes, and Act 3 has eight scenes.


Each act takes place in a different location. Act 1 is in the Roman army camp, with soldiers, captains and centurions in uniform. Camilla carries a basket of rolls. Aurelius Caesar is struck by lightning in the second scene. Rosarda is dressed as a man. Numeriano is carried on in a sedan chair. A laurel wreath is an important prop in the first act as it is passed from each leader of Rome to his replacement, all the way down to Diocletian, who rules from the end of the first act. Act 2 is set in the now-Emperor Diocletian’s Palace in Rome. The setting is a throne room or receiving room, where Diocletian can reign and the theatrical entertainments can take place. Act 3 is also in that same imperial palace, but the third act’s ‘special effects’ rely on a ‘discovery space’ or curtained-off location behind which scenes of a shocking or surprising nature can be suddenly revealed.  It is used three times: first to reveal a painting of Mary, Jesus, and the throne of God the Father; secondly to reveal four angels in a tableaux; and finally to show Genesius impaled. In addition, the third act also requires a balcony or raised location where the Angel appears to Genesius, and Genesius also climbs up to this balcony. At the end, just before Genesius is impaled, the actors come on with their traveling bags, props, actors’ trunks with costumes and sets, as they prepare to leave town.

Cast number
Minimum Maximum
16 males 36 males
2 females 4 females
18 (total) 40 (total)
Cast information
McGaha writes that the play can be performed with a minimum of 18 actors, although there are 40 parts in the play. He includes a useful breakdown chart of how this can be achieved on p. 42 of his translation. Johnston’s text doubles and eliminates roles, and was originally done with eight actors.
  • MARCIO (Marcellus), Soldier
  • CURIO (Curius), Soldier
  • MAXIMIANO (Maximian), Soldier, becomes co-emperor
  • DIOCLECIANO (Diocletian), Soldier, becomes emperor
  • CAMILA (Camilla), Peasant woman, becomes Diocletian’s wife
  • AURELIO (Aurelius Caesar), Emperor
  • NUMERIANO (Numerianus), Son of Aurelio
  • APRO (Aper), Consul and father-in-law to Numeriano
  • CARINO (Carinus), Co-emperor and son of Aurelio
  • ROSARDA, Girlfriend of Carino
  • GINÉS (Genesius), Greatest actor/writer in Rome
  • LELIO (Laelius), Consul
  • SEVERIO (Severius), Commanding officer
  • PATRICIO (Patricius), Roman Senator
  • PINABELO (Pinabellus), Actor playing servant characters
  • OCTAVIO (Octavius), Actor playing leading men
  • SERGESTO (Sergestus), Roman official
  • FELISARDO (Felisardus), Roman official
  • SALUSTIO (Salustius), Actor playing villains
  • LÉNTULO (Lentulus), Roman Senator
  • FABRICIO (Fabritius), Actor playing old men, Marcela’s father
  • MARCELA, Actress playing leading ladies, becomes Octavio’s wife
  • ALVINIO (Albinus), Comic actor
  • RIBETE, Stage manager
  • MARTINUS, Stage manager
  • SULPICIO , Accompanies Bailiff
  • FABIO, Boy actor
  • CELIA, Actress playing minor ladies and servants
  • CELIO (Celius), Actor and also plays Carino’s servant
  • RUTILIO, Servant
  • ANGEL(S)
  • SOLDIERS, Members of the Court, Romans

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

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