Bellarmine University’s theatre program will perform “House of Desires,” a romantic comedy of errors written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, beginning Friday, March 29, in Wyatt Hall’s Black Box Theater.
Set in Toledo, Spain, in 1683, “House of Desires” tells the story of a brother and sister entangled in a web of love with four others. With everyone under one roof, mayhem ensues as all six characters struggle to be alone with their lover
and the audience tries to work out who really loves whom.
The play is produced and directed by Megan Burnett, theatre program director and associate professor of theatre. She said she first found “House of Desires” in 2004 while studying at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London. “I was fascinated
by it partly because it was written by a nun from Mexico in the 1680s,” she said.
When Bellarmine’s theatre department decided to feature a play from the Spanish Golden Age this semester, Burnett recognized that “House of Desires” fit the bill. Spanish Golden Age drama refers to plays written in Spain from 1590 and
1681. Burnett said Sor Juana is recognized as a proto-feminist, scholar and revolutionary 17th century playwright who advocated for women to have access to education.
Burnett said one of the most challenging but enjoyable aspects in directing this play has been to teach her cast members about the showy style of acting found in this Spanish Golden Age play, with more flow of movement than in the modern style of acting.
“The most delightful part of this production is the student-created music and dance for other students,” Burnett said, pointing out that a Bellarmine music major, Evan Sims, has composed a song that he will play on guitar for every performance.
This production also features stage combat and sword fighting choreographed by Dr. Zackary Ross, an assistant professor of theatre. “This is the first play where we’ve ever had sword fighting,” Burnett said, adding that Ross has creatively
infused the sword fights with the characters’ development.
In addition, Dr. Nelson López, associate professor and chair of global languages and cultures, has assisted in multiple roles for this production. He is serving as dramaturge, providing historical expertise in Spanish Golden Age drama and culture. He also directs the loa and the entremés.
The production also received assistance from Donna Lawrence Downs, a guest artist who will provide 17th century costumes from the Kentucky Opera and the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival.
“Come ready for a fun evening, come ready to laugh and to enjoy and to cheer and to see something you don’t often see in the city,” Burnett said. “While it is old, it will look new again.”
March 29, 30, April 1, 4, 5, 6 at 7 p.m.
March 31 at 2 p.m.
$10 general admission
$7 student/senior citizens/groups of 5 of more
Article by Daniel Spitza, intern in Bellarmine's Office of Marketing and Communications.