The Labyrinth of Desire

The Labyrinth of Desire
by Caridad Svich
freely adapted and translated from Lope de Vega’s La prueba de los ingenios,

When Florela’s fiancé decides to leave her and compete with other suitors for the hand of the rich and beautiful Laura, Florela goes undercover to keep her man. Filled with clever deceptions and hilarious disguises, this who’s-who comedy of romantic intrigue explores the delightful and essential mystery of love. This stylish and contemporary adaptation proves that long before Sex and the City, intuition and infatuation have challenged the boundaries and fluidity of human desire.

Full-length. 3 W (20s), 1 W (40s-50s), 5 M (20s). Setting: A world of mirrors and transformation. Simple, elegant and somewhat ornate in design.

Production History:

Originally commissioned and produced by University of California-San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance under the direction of Jerry Ruiz (2006). Developed in reading at New Dramatists, New York City under Jean Randich’s direction (2006) and in production at Ohio State University’s Department of Theatre under Jimmy Bohr’s direction (2008).
Professional premiere at Miracle Theatre/Teatro Milagro in Portland, Oregon under Devon Allen’s direction (May 9-31, 2008).

Selected reviews: –

“Two hours later I walked out into the summer night happy and full of a sense of summer’s possibilities, all teased out by the Miracle Theatre’s sultry little production of The Labyrinth of Desire. Labyrinth is larger than life, an oversized comedy of love-induced errors that would play best to a full house. It’s the stuff of Shakespeare, with a dash of the Greeks thrown in for good measure—the characters don improbable disguises and bend gender in absurdly transparent ways, all for the sake of true love (whatever that means). Who’s in love with whom isn’t really important: What’s important is that all of the complicated, passionate, fickle, irritating vagrancies of the heart are on display here, with a sweet bravado that highlights how ridiculous and irresistible the mating dance really is. …The Miracle’s ensemble here juggles camp, bawdiness, and sincere sentiment, with a sly sexiness that makes the whole thing go down easy: It’s a perfect summer diversion for the long hot nights to come. “ Allison Hallett, The Portland Mercury (The Stranger) (2008)

Caridad Svich’s snappy rendering of an already madcap tale produces an engaging fusion between Elizabethan Age storytelling and contemporary sensibilities that results in one of the more satisfying efforts on the Milagro Theatre stage in recent seasons.” –Eric Bartels, The Portland Tribune (2008)

‘The comedy, with its dark overtones, exudes a sense of opera in both language and scenes. We learn once again that true love challenges the boundaries of human desire, whether we’re clutching a rapier or a cell phone.” – Holly Johnson, The Oregonian (2008)

“Caridad Svich’s excellent new adaptation (which blends old and new verbal choices the way Lope loved to blend genres) of a heretofore obscure work, at least in English, feels like striking gold.” – Jeff Smith, San Diego Reader (2006)

“Wit, style and imaginative staging make The Labyrinth of Desire one of the season’s most vivid productions… Class differences are as crucial to Caridad Svich’s architecture as sexual differences.” – Michael Grossberg, Columbus Dispatch (2008)

by Caridad Svich adapted from Lope de Vega
featured in InTranslation (April 2008 issue)
a web-only section of The Brooklyn Rail
edited by Jen Zoble