Leading-Ladiespresents

FEB. 29 – MARCH 22, 2020

About

Directed by JOSÉ LUIS VALENZUELA

A switched-at-birth comedy full of music and dancing!
Burning passion, cunning deception and outrageous melodrama combine in this enormously entertaining homage to Latin American soap operas. A storm brews in the small town of Bellarica, Mexico, when two baby girls are born on the same night in the same hospital. One will have wealth and privilege, and the other will live in poverty. Yet the drama is bound to unfold when a former beauty queen switches the babies at birth in her lust for power. Eighteen years later, fate finds the two girls together again, prompting secrets to be revealed and lies to be unraveled. After all, nothing is impossible in Bellarica!

“[A] terrifically entertaining theatrical roller-coaster… A zany, funny delight.” — L.A. Times


ADVISORY:
Destiny of Desire is suitable for adults and older teenage audiences. This Latin-American melodrama features everything there is to love about soap operas: forbidden romance, sexual content, plenty of plotting and scheming, and moments of overly dramatic violence.

RUNNING TIME: The show runs approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission. 


Promotional photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Show Program

 
Engage

DESTINY OF DESIRE: Playwright's Notes by Karen Zacarías

Mar 6, 2020, 15:30 PM by Natalie Koking
The writer shares artistic insight into crafting this enormously entertaining stage comedy.

Presented by Leading Ladies, Destiny of Desire is an enormously entertaining switched-at-birth comedy and homage to Latin American telenovelas. It is written by Playhouse Associate Artist Karen Zacarías, author of The Book Club Play (produced at the Playhouse in 2013) and Native Gardens (produced as its world premiere at the Playhouse in 2016). Below are her notes about writing Destiny of Desire.


DestinyOfDesire_08

Mark Torres, Ruben Flores and Yassmin Alers in Destiny of Desire. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.


Telenovelas, whether you watch them or not, seep into the daily life of most Latin Americans. When my family emigrated from Mexico to the United States, telenovelas seemed destined to become a thing of my past. Except that Americans were just as obsessed with telenovelas as my country’s men and women.

General Hospital and One Life to Live were dominating the ratings by day. In Mexico, a telenovela lasts about six months. They have an arc with a beginning, middle and end. Each episode is an explosive storytelling event. American daytime soap operas inched along with people crying while drinking coffee. The way the U.S. public reacted to “Who Shot J.R.?” was much more in line with the palpable power of telenovelas back home.

As a playwright that grew up in Mexico, I wanted to introduce U.S. audiences to stories that humanized and universalized my people. I began to notice that critics used the word “telenovela” to erroneously describe a lot of work written by Latina writers.

So, I decided to write the best stage telenovela I could… to show what a telenovela really is. I wanted to examine my own ambivalent feelings about this popular and populist art form and both honor and test the genre. I wanted to give a large cast of Latinx actors, musicians, designers and directors an opportunity to show virtuosic chops. I wanted the play to be aesthetically beautiful and full of music (the melo of melodrama).

DestinyOfDesire_07

Ruth Livier and Juan Luis Acevedo in Destiny of Desire. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.


Writing Destiny of Desire became for me a subversive, political and artistic act… and I’ve never had more fun in my life.

I created a Brechtian epic theatre frame around the melodrama to give the play context and sharpness. The actors create the story and are also the audience getting pulled into the story. No matter how crazy the antics get on stage, there are funny or sobering facts that ground the plot and connect it to life in the U.S. In the tradition of Brecht’s poor theatre, all the scenery is moved by the actors — a reminder that theatre is powered by human muscle and can be done anywhere with any type of budget. Imagination is our biggest theatrical element: A piece of cloth becomes a desert, a door becomes a church, our white horse is a red bicycle.

DestinyOfDesire_01

Eduardo Enrikez and Esperanza América, with Juan Luis Acevedo and Elia Saldana (background), in Destiny of Desire. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.


I am lucky enough to work with Master Director José Luis Valenzuela since the beginning, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this work with Blake Robison and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park audiences who have been so welcoming to me with The Book Club Play and Native Gardens.

Anything is possible in Destiny of Desire… and in the theatre.

To learn more about the Playhouse's production of Destiny of Desire, presented by Leading Ladies, visit our production detail page.

Photo at top of Esperanza América and Elia Saldana in Destiny of Desire by Mikki Schaffner.

DESTINY OF DESIRE: Playwright's Notes by Karen Zacarías

Mar 6, 2020, 15:30 PM by Natalie Koking
The writer shares artistic insight into crafting this enormously entertaining stage comedy.

Presented by Leading Ladies, Destiny of Desire is an enormously entertaining switched-at-birth comedy and homage to Latin American telenovelas. It is written by Playhouse Associate Artist Karen Zacarías, author of The Book Club Play (produced at the Playhouse in 2013) and Native Gardens (produced as its world premiere at the Playhouse in 2016). Below are her notes about writing Destiny of Desire.


DestinyOfDesire_08

Mark Torres, Ruben Flores and Yassmin Alers in Destiny of Desire. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.


Telenovelas, whether you watch them or not, seep into the daily life of most Latin Americans. When my family emigrated from Mexico to the United States, telenovelas seemed destined to become a thing of my past. Except that Americans were just as obsessed with telenovelas as my country’s men and women.

General Hospital and One Life to Live were dominating the ratings by day. In Mexico, a telenovela lasts about six months. They have an arc with a beginning, middle and end. Each episode is an explosive storytelling event. American daytime soap operas inched along with people crying while drinking coffee. The way the U.S. public reacted to “Who Shot J.R.?” was much more in line with the palpable power of telenovelas back home.

As a playwright that grew up in Mexico, I wanted to introduce U.S. audiences to stories that humanized and universalized my people. I began to notice that critics used the word “telenovela” to erroneously describe a lot of work written by Latina writers.

So, I decided to write the best stage telenovela I could… to show what a telenovela really is. I wanted to examine my own ambivalent feelings about this popular and populist art form and both honor and test the genre. I wanted to give a large cast of Latinx actors, musicians, designers and directors an opportunity to show virtuosic chops. I wanted the play to be aesthetically beautiful and full of music (the melo of melodrama).

DestinyOfDesire_07

Ruth Livier and Juan Luis Acevedo in Destiny of Desire. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.


Writing Destiny of Desire became for me a subversive, political and artistic act… and I’ve never had more fun in my life.

I created a Brechtian epic theatre frame around the melodrama to give the play context and sharpness. The actors create the story and are also the audience getting pulled into the story. No matter how crazy the antics get on stage, there are funny or sobering facts that ground the plot and connect it to life in the U.S. In the tradition of Brecht’s poor theatre, all the scenery is moved by the actors — a reminder that theatre is powered by human muscle and can be done anywhere with any type of budget. Imagination is our biggest theatrical element: A piece of cloth becomes a desert, a door becomes a church, our white horse is a red bicycle.

DestinyOfDesire_01

Eduardo Enrikez and Esperanza América, with Juan Luis Acevedo and Elia Saldana (background), in Destiny of Desire. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.


I am lucky enough to work with Master Director José Luis Valenzuela since the beginning, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this work with Blake Robison and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park audiences who have been so welcoming to me with The Book Club Play and Native Gardens.

Anything is possible in Destiny of Desire… and in the theatre.

To learn more about the Playhouse's production of Destiny of Desire, presented by Leading Ladies, visit our production detail page.

Photo at top of Esperanza América and Elia Saldana in Destiny of Desire by Mikki Schaffner.

 

 

Artists

Juan Luis Acevedo

Armando Castillo

Yassmin Alers

Hortencia Del Rio

Esperanza América

Pilar Esperanza Castillo / Nurse 2

Eduardo Enrikez

Sebastián Jose Castillo / Paramedic 1

Ruben Flores

Ernesto Del Rio

Ruth Livier

Fabiola Castillo

Xavi Moreno

Dr. Diego Mendoza / Paramedic 2 / Cop 2

Dyana Ortelli

Sister Sonia

Robert J. Revell

Agustín Lara Jr. / Pianist

Elia Saldana

Victoria Del Rio / Nurse 1

Mark Torres

Dr. Jorge Ramiro Mendoza / Casino Dealer / Cop 1

Karen Zacarías

Playwright

José Luis Valenzuela

Director

Rosino Serrano

Composer

Deborah Wicks La Puma

Music Director

Robert Barry Fleming

Choreographer

François-Pierre Couture

Set Designer

Julie Weiss

Costume Designer

Pablo Santiago

Lighting Designer

John Zalewski

Sound Designer

Stephanie Klapper, CSA

Casting Director

U. Jonathan Toppo

Fight Choreographer

Brooke Redler

Stage Manager

Andrea L. Shell

Second Stage Manager

Suann Pollock

Assistant Stage Manager

Milwaukee Repertory Theatre

Co-Producer

Guthrie Theater

Co-Producer

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