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Destiny of Desire

Arena Stage Kreeger Theatre
Washington, DC


Reviewed by Verna Kerans
Runs through October 18, 2015

WOW! What a fun show! You still have a week to catch this wonderful play at Arena Stage. It closes on October 18, 2015. In keeping with a special celebration of women playwrights, Arena Stage presented Destiny of Desire. Written by Arena’s resident playwright, Karen Zacarias, it was inspired by the telenovelas that are a staple of Spanish TV. It has everything: music, great dancing, and a very talented cast. Everyone in the cast is Spanish but the story is in English so have no fear - you can understand every word.

Before the show, Ernesto del Rio greeted the audience in a casual walk-through, dressed in an outfit complete with cowboy hat. When he began, we had no idea that he would ascend the stage and become Carlos Gomez, the husband of Hortensia del Rio played by Rayanne Gonzales.

The crux of the story is that the Del Rios and the Castillo family each have a baby girl at the same time. Because one of the babies is sickly, Fabiola Castillo (Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey) decides to exchange her baby with that of the del Rio family. They keep it a secret but the exchange is done to please the patriarch Armando Castillo (Cástulo Guerra). He is gruff and demanding and always wants things his way; Fabiola, a beautiful woman, is determined to keep her marriage intact.

Moving forward in time, the daughters of the two families grow up and guess what. The sickly baby is now a beautiful girl. Therein lies the plot with all the deviations of which one can think. The two daughters are Elia Saldaña (Victoria del Rio) and Esperanza American (Pilar Castillo). When they grow up the “destiny” of each girl begins to see its way to completion.

Even before the play begins, we watch the cast getting into costume and exchanging pleasantries which is a novel beginning I have never seen done and it is very interesting. In fact, under the direction of Jose Luis Valenzuela, this play is well-worth seeing. Full of laughs you may not be expecting. There are costume surprises and story intrigues that will keep you laughing. I recommend Destiny of Desire to all.

Box Office: 202-488-3300

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