Hola, mis amigos! I just saw a play by Karen Zacarias at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival called “Destiny of Desire,” and it’s more fun than a Mexican telenovela. Well, it is a telenovela, a Latin-style soap opera, but it’s in English, with added soundbites about dating and other vital social issues.
The Shakespeare Festival’s spring plays are all engaging, but none offers the unbridled hilarity of “Destiny of Desire.” In fact, this is Ashland’s funniest play in years, and it’s the talk of the town.
Here’s a primer on telenovelas. A telenovela is usually a Cinderella story. The rich are obnoxious or evil, and the poor are the salt of the earth. In this one two baby girls are switched at birth. A rich mother secretly trades her gravely ill newborn for a poor but healthy baby.
Mistaken identities are essential, especially when two young lovers discover they are siblings. Only they’re not.
First love involves a bed strewn with red rose petals, sometimes arranged in the shape of a heart.
An innocent poor person, falsely accused of a crime, always goes to jail. But don’t worry. Eventually she’ll go free.
Leading actors are gorgeous. The rich wear designer clothes 24/7 and live in mansions with acres of marble floors.
“Destiny of Desire” contains all this and more, songs and dance and special effects in constant motion. Directed to perfection by Jose Luis Valenzuela, the superb all-Latino cast never misses a trick.
No wonder telenovelas are watched by two billion viewers in 80 countries. I hope you’ll be lucky enough to score a ticket for this unique stage satire, but hurry; tickets are flying out the door. Buena suerte.
This is Dorothy Velasco with KLCC’s Ashland Theater Review.