Out of the Wings

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La venganza de Tamar (1621-1624), Tirso de Molina


This is a three-act comedia.


Discovery spaces are used in this play to reveal and conceal; a space at the back of the stage with a curtain drawn across it would have been used to conceal the rape of Tamar, and drawn away to reveal Amnon’s dead body laid out on the banquet table in the end tableau.

At the beginning of the play, the soldiers remove their spurs and riding equipment. Tamar and Dina sing together in the garden. Tamar wears a red dress at the wedding ceremony of Josefo and Elisa, which takes place as the backdrop to Amnon’s meeting with Tamar. (Josefo and Elisa would be in wedding attire.) Amnon is masked at the wedding. Singers visit Amnon, as does the Fencing Master, who brings swords with him. Tamar brings Amnon a meal on a tray. There is no rape scene described in the text, but it is clear that in between acts 2 and 3 Amnon rapes Tamar. She dresses in mourning clothes to appeal to her father and brothers for justice. Out in the country, Tamar appears veiled and the shepherds sing about various kinds of plants and trees; Laureta gives Tamar and her brothers each a flower or plant that is symbolic for them. Amnon’s murdered body is revealed at the end and Tamar and Absalom gloat as their father mourns (the passage of time between the brothers learning of Amnon’s death and telling their father is effaced, as it is shown in the very next scene).


Tamar and her lady-in-waiting, Dina, sing and play an instrument. Singing is also used strategically (such as by the shepherds) later in the play, and also as an attempt to cheer up the melancholic Amnon.

Cast number
Minimum Maximum
10 males 16 males
5 females 7 females
15 (total) 23 (total)
Cast information
The RSC production doubled Jonadab/Solomon, Braulio/Fencing Master, Joab/Shepherd, Eliazer/Shepherd, Bathsheba/Shepherd, Laureta/Michal.
  • DINA
  • ABIGAIL, One of David’s wives
  • BATHSHEBA, One of David’s wives
  • MASTER AT ARMS, Fencing Master
  • JOAB
  • MICHAL, One of David’s wives
  • TIRSO, Shepherd
  • BRAULIO, Shepherd
  • ALISO, Shepherd
  • RISELO, Shepherd
  • ARDELIO, Shepherd
  • LAURETA, Seer
  • JOSEFO, Bridegroom
  • ELISA, Bride

Entry written by Kathleen Jeffs. Last updated on 22 February 2011.

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