House of Desires

Fall, 2006
Written By: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Directed By: Rafael Lopez-Barrantes

The Duke Department of Theater Studies presented House of Desires October 20-29, 2006. Rafael Lopez-Barrantes directed the production.

House of Desires was written by a nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, in 1683 in Mexico City. Known for her insistence on pursuing her interests at a time when women had few options, Sor Juana is recognized as a proto-feminist. Because a convent was the only place where a woman could follow a path of learning and writing, she joined the Hieronymite Order, which fortunately allowed her the freedom to receive the most interesting people of her time as visitors -- and to observe their foibles.

Lopez-Barrantes , Senior Lecturing Fellow in the Department of Theater Studies, says, "House of Desires is a comedy of errors and intrigue. It is not that different from Friends or Seinfeld. The characters are always plotting -- they are continually scheming to satisfy their desires.

"Sor Juana is very playful with words and the comedy is in the concocting. In their self-serving way, her characters attempt to use language to conquer. The contemporary translation by Catherine Boyle makes the piece very accessible for modern audiences," says Lopez-Barrantes.

Amir Ofek, the Theater Department's Visiting Lecturer in Design, designed the set and costumes for House of Desires.