History of Western Theatre: 17th Century to Now/Early Spanish 21st

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Juan Mayorga[edit]

Included among noteworthy Spanish plays of the early 21st century is "Animales nocturnos" (The insomniacs, or more precisely Nocturnal animals, 2003) by Juan Mayorga (1965-?).

"Nocturnal animals"[edit]

A hedgehog
A fox

"Nocturnal animals". Time: 2000s. Place: Spain

The Tall Man is accosted by the Small Man, who tells him that he knows about his status as an illegal immigrant, but promises not to divulge this information provided the man does what he says, mainly to serve him as a companion to talk with. The Tall Woman, wife to the Tall Man, reveals to her husband that a man with a hat flirted with her, but he is not worried by that. He next meets the Short Man at the zoo, where they discuss the habits of nocturnal animals, such as the hedgehog. The Short Man cites from from the "Thousand and One Nights" a saying derived from the Greek lyric poet Archilochus (c. 680–c. 645 BC) whereby "The fox knows many things, the hedgehog only one, but of utmost importance." The Short Woman, wife to the Short man, is an insomniac who listens to a late-night television program meant to help such people, loud enough to disturb the Tall Man and the Tall Woman living in the apartment below. The Tall Woman receives the visit of the Short Man to repair an electric disturbance in her apartment. While poking around for the source of the problem, he enters their bedroom and touches the bed. Worried about his attitude, she goes over to her husband's place of work as a night-time orderly in a hospital and mentions their neighbor's visit, at which time the Tall Man reveals the nature of their relation, one he feels is under control. The Tall Woman disagrees, because she considers the Short Man a disquieting figure. She threatens to leave the apartment with or without him. One day, the Tall Man greets the Short Woman in a park, who speak of her husband. She asks him what she can do to help. When she later meets her husband, they discuss their marital troubles, but to no avail. True to her word, the Tall Woman heads for the train station alone to meet a man she had just met. Meanwhile, the Tall Man goes up to the Short Man's apartment, where he meets his wife, who wishes to dance with him, much to the satisfaction of the Short Man, whose marriage problem may thereby be solved. It is clear that the Tall Man is the fox, the Short Man the hedgehog.