Life is a Dream

Pedro Calderon De La Barca adapted by Helen Edmundson

DOI: 10.5040/9781784600785.00000002
Acts: 3. Scenes: 39. Roles: Male (9) , Female (2) , Neutral (0)

Life is a Dream (La vida es sueño) is a masterpiece from the Spanish Golden Age by Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600–81), exploring illusion, reality and fate against the backdrop of a mythical Polish kingdom. Helen Edmundson's version, written entirely in blank verse, was first performed at the Donmar Warehouse, London, on 13 October 2009 (previews from 8 October).

The play's action focuses on the fictional Segismundo, Prince of Poland, who has been imprisoned in a tower by his father, King Basilio, following a dire prophecy that the prince would bring disaster to the country and death to the King. Basilio briefly frees Segismundo, but when the prince goes on a rampage, the king imprisons him again, persuading him that it was all a dream. However, Segismundo is released once again during a popular uprising; this time he translates his bewilderment over his changes of fortune into loving charity and kindness. In a complex subplot, Rosaura, a spurned woman, is eventually reunited with her lover.

The Donmar Warehouse production was directed by Jonathan Munby and designed by Angela Davies. It starred Dominic West as Segismundo. The other members of the cast were Rupert Evans, Kate Fleetwood, David Horovitch, Lloyd Hutchinson, Sharon Small, David Smith, Malcolm Storry and Dylan Turner.

From Life is a Dream


Nick Hern Books

Pedro Calderon De La Barca adapted by Helen Edmundson

ISBN: 9781848420601

Series: NHB Classic Plays

Buy this work