The Story Behind the Photo: "Destiny of Desire"

Tania Thompson
 | Dec 29, 2020
Destiny of Desire
Esperanza America (as Pilar), Cástulo Guerra (Armando Castillo), Ruth Livier (Fabiola) and Ella Saldana North (Victoria Maria del Rio) in Destiny of Desire by Karen Zacarías (2016). Photo by Debora Robinson.

About Destiny of Desire

On a stormy night in Bellarica, Mexico, two baby girls are born—one to poverty, one to privilege—and then secretly switched by a scheming former beauty queen. Eighteen years later the girls meet, brought together by misfortune. Or is it destiny? In this fast-paced comedy inspired by popular telenovelas, forbidden love, revenge, infidelity and burning passion abound. (And musical numbers make it the perfect guilty pleasure!) This was a co-production with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

Love, jealousy, dark secrets, hidden identities and shocking surprises. That describes both telenovelas and Karen Zacarías’ play, Destiny of Desire (2016). Audiences loved the reveals at nearly every turn of this tale—and the cast loved telling it. Actor Ella Saldana North is an SCR veteran of both mainstage and Theatre for Young Audiences Family Series productions; she portrayed Victoria Maria del Rio in Destiny of Desire, one of two young women (the other is Pilar) whose fates are intertwined. She selected this photo (above) as an important moment from the lively play.

What moment does this depict?

This is the moment of truth when Fabiola (Ruth Livier), who secretly is the biological mother of my character, Victoria, must decide between protecting ​Victoria, or pleasing her husband and continuing to pretend that she doesn't care what happens to this maid. In a few seconds, she will end up pushing her out of the house and into a sandstorm. 

How did you work to make this moment happen?

Lots of rehearsal centered around Fabiola: What were her natural impulses? As a mother? As a wife? When does she care and when does she switch and make that decision to be ruthless. As someone who isn't in her home and is no longer a welcome guest—not to mention is having trouble breathing—Victoria is pretty much at the mercy of these three people.  

What’s the power about this moment?

​It perfectly depicts the status of everyone involved and really tells the story about that moment. You see Fabiola's posed stance and haughtiness; Armando's anger, authoritativeness, and need to control; Pilar looking ever-so-slightly hopeful but being pretty much powerless; and Victoria feeling ashamed, unwanted and scared.