Desirée's award-winning play NUCLEAR FAMILY has been selected for a dramatized reading

at the WPIC in Santiago de Chile

7 to 12 October 2018  

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stageplay by Desiree Gezentsvey

based on the novel of the same title by Christine Leunens

 World Premiere at Circa Theatre, Wellington, August 2017

 “A commendably ambitious enterprise with an intriguingly international sweep… Its themes are universal and sweeping... The surprises are ingenious…” – THEATREVIEW

“Engaging and provocative” – DOMINION POST

“Very powerful” - KIWIBLOG



Desirée's Bilingual Poetry Book  'next time around / la próxima vez'

 available at SteeleRoberts


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"A play that deserves to become the talk of the fringe... a beautiful and poised piece that takes a heartfelt look at very complex ideas... rich in humour, emotion and pathos. A charming, sometimes dark, always entertaining exploration of what it means to be a migrant in a foreign world. The sheer skill and talent in Yael Gezentsvey’s performance is mind-boggling... her talent and the well written script take precedence with no smoke and mirrors... Intriguing... witty... a warm, friendly, and touching insight into one of the most difficult and least covered issues in the world today.” – EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW

"Intricate writing and beautiful voices... Yael Gezentsvey seamlessly slips from character to character to create a vivid family dynamic...a thoroughly engaging story... just lovely." – THREE WEEKS

“The script (by Desirée Gezentsvey), written with heart, tragedy and a fair balance of true comedy, is remarkable. It veers between calamity and wit so deftly, and the characters are so well drawn, it feels and rings so true… personal and raw, emotional… Yael Gezentsvey is a uniquely talented actor… her real skill lies in her ability to embody the roles so completely, with the type of abandon one associates with a far more experienced, older actor… A riveting performance…” – FRINGE REVIEW

An exceptional piece of theatre not to be missed!” – FRINGE BENEFITS


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BA Modern Languages - VUW

MA Creative Writing (Script)    International Institute of Modern Letters - VUW

MA Literary Translation Studies - English/Spanish - VUW

Oral History Training - Oral History Centre, Wellington National Library


Short Bio

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Desiree emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand in 1985 with her husband and three daughters.

She writes for theatre and film, and has published a bilingual book of poetry, ‘Next Time Around / la próxima vez’ (Steele Roberts) which deals with the subject of immigration and separation from loved ones. Her poetry piece ‘Under the Southern Stars’ was recorded and broadcast by Radio NZ. A number of her poems have been set to music by award winning NZ composers Gareth Farr and Dorothy Buchanan.

Desiree has also been involved in various projects as script development consultant, and has translated poetry, theatre and fiction from English to Spanish and Spanish to English, including the English translation of the book Náhuatl Stories: Indigenous tales from Mexico by Pablo Gonzáles Casanova (pub VUP, 2012), through the Mexican Embassy in NZ.

Desiree's play 'Nuclear Family' won the Best Stageplay Award  (Script) at the 2011 Moondance International Film Festival Competition (USA) and received 5-star reviews in Adelaide (AU), London (UK), Edinburgh (IE), Auckland and Wellington (NZ). Her latest play, ‘Caging Skies’, based on the novel by Christine Leunens, had its world premiere at Wellington’s Circa Theatre in August 2017 and is currently being translated into Spanish and French.


A few words about me, in no particular order...

writer  poet  playwright  screenwriter  translator  publicist

ink-link     cultivator of people & memories

romantic realist        music & art lover   

Jewish    Venezuelan    New Zealander

Maiden name ~ Desiree Rebeca Sterental Serr

daughter of engineer Volf Sterental and pianist Harriet Serr

wife of NZSO violinist Yury Gezentsvey

mother of Michelle, Lara (&Nathan), Yael (&Storm)

grandma of Noam & Stella   Maurice & Beatrice   Quin & Nova

Among my meaningful favorites...

When you look to the heights, hold on to your hat.

                              Yiddish Proverb

Begin by doing what's necessary

Then do what's possible

Soon you'll be doing the impossible!

                              St Francis of Assissi

If you keep your destiny in mind,

every moment in life

becomes an opportunity

for moving closer to it. 

                              Arthur Golden

O let me hear thee speaking

In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion,

The murmurs of self-will;

O speak to reassure me,

To hasten or control;

O speak, and make me listen,

Thou Guardian of my soul.

                              Bode, 1869