Life is a Dream

Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600 - 1681)
Translated by Denis Florence MacCarthy (1817 - 1882)

Life Is a Dream (La vida es sueño) is a Spanish-language verse drama by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. First published in 1636, the story focuses on the fictional Sigismund, Prince of Poland, who has been imprisoned in a tower by his father, King Basilius, following a dire prophecy that the prince would bring disaster to the country and death to the King. Basilius briefly frees Sigismund and allows him to take his rightful place at court, but when the prince kills a servant and attempts to rape a lady-in-waiting, the king imprisons him again, persuading him that it was all a dream. But Sigismund is later freed again to lead a rebellion against his father.

The play is a philosophical allegory regarding the human situation and the mystery of life, it's central themes are the conflict between free will and fate, as well as restoring one's honor. Other themes include dreams vs. reality and the conflict between father and son. The play has been described as "the supreme example of Spanish Golden Age drama"

(Summary by Alan Mapstone)

Cast List

Basilius, King of Poland: Algy Pug
Sigismund, his Son: Greg Giordano
Astolfo, Duke of Muscovy: Larry Wilson
Estrella, a Princess: Sonia
Clotaldo, a Nobleman: Beeswaxcandle
Rosaura, a Lady: Jenn Broda
Clarin, her Servant: Inkell
First Soldier: ToddHW
Second Soldier: redrun
First Servant: redrun
Second Servant: ToddHW
Stage Directions: Alan Mapstone

Genre(s): Tragedy

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Dedication and Dramatis Personae Alan Mapstone
Play 01 Act 1 Scenes 1-4: Tower Group 00:26:47
Play 02 Act 1 Scenes 5-8: Court Group 00:24:20
Play 03 Act 2 Scenes 1-15: Court Group 00:55:00
Play 04 Act 2 Scenes 16-18: Tower Group 00:10:48
Play 05 Act 3 Scenes 1-4: Tower Group 00:13:20
Play 06 Act 3 Scenes 5-8: Court Group 00:11:49
Play 07 Act 3 Scenes 9-14: Open Plain Group 00:34:03