Just in time for Valentine’s day, “House of Desires” opens up on February 5th and will run through March 1, 2015.
Celebrating its 39th Season bringing theatre to the DC masses, Gala Theatre (sporting a Brand new marquee) on 14th Street, presents “House of Desires” (Los Empeños de una casa) a 17th Century Golden Age play written by Mexico’s “Tenth Muse” Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Gala places a modern ranchera twist to the play which is being directed by Hugo Medrano.
“House of Desires” opens up on February 5th and will run through March 1, 2015. I had the opportunity to sit down with several of the cast members to find out what motivates their characters and how love is as twisted and passionate today as it was in the 17th Century.
Luz Nicolas, Alina Collins Maldonado, and Natalia Miranda deep in character on set.
Kesta DC: Tell us a little bit about the play and your role?
Luz Nicolás (Celia) – I play the servant and she basically takes care of everyone in the house. She is very funny because in all the classical plays the servants always provided the comedy. So Celia knows everything that is going on and breaks the fourth dimension so the audience can understand the play a little bit better.
Mauricio Pita (Don Pedro) – I play the owner of the house. He has family money and has grown up getting everything that he wanted and when he can’t get the love of Leonor he becomes really upset and kind of obsessive. Leonor is someone that everybody loves and he wants her to love him. He’s stubborn, likes to drink, and he’s trying different tactics to get her but he won’t do any of the work himself so he devices several plots and enlists the help of many people to help him.
Alina Collins Maldonado (Leonor) – She is stricken in love and gives up her honor and name to be with her lover. Only she ends up in this house where she is obviously involved in a love triangle. She is trying to elope with her lover but is kidnapped by Don Pedro. Obviously she doesn’t care about Don Pedro because she’s too in love with someone else.
Natalia Miranda (Doña Ana) – I’m Don Pedro’s sister. I’m supposed to be the evil one but no one is really evil in the play. I am in love with Don Carlos who is Leonor’s lover, who is my brother’s love, so yeah it’s complicated.
Leonor (Alina Collins Maldonado) and Don Carlos (Erick Sotomayor) show how deep their love goes.
KH: Isn’t that how love always works?
Alina (Leonor) – Of course! That is when the drama ensues because Don Pedro plots against Leonor and my lover to kidnap me, they confuse him, and he ends up lost and she ends up at this house. One of the interesting things about this character is that Sor Juana de La Cruz shares this in one of the opening monologues that this was basically her life. She is of name but she was born poor and she was enamored by all these men but she just couldn’t ever find anyone that suited her.
KH: So how was this play adapted into a Ranchera?
Luz (Celia) – Hugo Medrano is trying to make it more approachable for our audience. The 17th Century is wonderful but the dialogue can be difficult to understand especially for younger audiences which we are trying to reach. He decided to set this in the 40s in Mexico in an Hacienda so that way this story of poetry, and songs and mistaken identities takes place in a modern setting.
Alina (Leonor) – The show touches a lot on what Sor Juana wrote about which is putting into perspectives the roles that men and women were forced to play in society back then. So she is in a golden age of literature in the 17th Century and here we are performing her play set in another Golden age which was the age of cinema in Mexico. This is when we were projecting strong images of women like Maria Felix. Yet men and women are still ruled by honor and their name.
KH: How do you think the love, passion, and drama in the play translates to today?
Luz (Celia) –The idea is to make these characters very physical. I mean sex is in the air. Desire is in the air. They are not talking to each other like,“oh hey how are you?” they are animals. If we do it right the audience should feel just like they do nowadays, when you like somebody you LIKE somebody. It’s not just the idea of love or of sex, it’s real.
Natalia (Doña Ana) - I think no matter the part of history or era the basic underlying passions of people are the same. That’s why we connect with this play so much because all the characters are deeply desiring someone or something and are secretly trying to achieve something. So those passions are there always.
KH: Is there a happy ending?
Alina (Leonor): Yes! It’s a comedy so everything is hilarious. There’s also gorgeous Mexican music arranged specifically for the play so you'll really be taken back in time. And yes we all end up with who we need to end up with...
For more information and tickets for the play visit: http://www.galatheatre.org/tickets.php