‘Life is a Dream’ concludes Adams State theater season
ADAMS State Theatre concludes its 2022-23 production session with “Life is a Dream” or “La vida es sueño” by Calderón de la Barca and adapted by Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz, with tickets on sale beginning Monday, April 17.
Directed by John H. Taylor, Ph.D., professor of theater, the play is an age-old story of royal succession as well as a tale of thwarted love and tarnished honor. In each case, the central characters are trying to avenge a wrong done to them as they try to claim their rightful place in the world. First performed in 1635, “Life is a Dream” is considered to be the greatest theatrical work from the Spanish Golden Age which dates from 1492-1659.
The central action of the play focuses on Prince Segismundo. As an infant, he is locked away at birth. Troubling astrological signs and the death of the boy’s mother convince his father that his son will become a tyrant as king. When he is a young man, the prince is brought out of prison and his father decides to allow him to rule for one day to see if he is capable. The play follows the trajectory of Segismundo’s journey from prisoner to wrathful ruler to his hoped-for rebirth as an honorable leader.
“Long viewed as one of the great works in the theatrical canon, it is one of my most favorite plays,” said Taylor. “While written 388 years ago, I also believe it is extremely relevant to our American society today.”
The play asks basic questions about the role of free will and destiny in our lives. It explores issues of governmental control of our most basic decisions versus individual choice. Taylor adds: “And in a time, then and now, when there seems to be so much conflict in society, this play argues that even if life is a dream, what we do with it is a matter of choice. We can act with hate and violence or love and respect towards each other. It is our decision.”
Featuring an epic story, action, and adventure, this contemporary production is a full-length play, but done without intermission and completed in a brisk 90 minutes. The production features stage fights choreographed by former Adams State Visiting Professor Alexis Black who recently helped stage the combat for Daniel Craig in “Macbeth” on Broadway.
The set is designed by faculty member Eugene Schilling, M.F.A. professor of art, and recorded music is performed by Angela Winter, D.M.A. associate professor of music. Public performances of “Life is a Dream” are April 28, 29, May 5, 6 at 7:30 p.m. and May 7 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are $13 and free to Associated Students and Faculty with current Adams State identification. Tickets may be purchased online at theatre.adams.edu. or by calling 719-587-8499. The box office is open 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.