Life is a Dream is one of the most revered plays of the Spanish Golden Age. Its 16th century themes explode in every contemporary political circumstance where leaders are called upon to sacrifice narrow ambition, relinquish personal gain, and stand instead for social justice. Yet every leader confronts some moment when the temptations of power—wealth, licentiousness, vengeance, fame–collide with the obligation to serve the common good. Acclaimed British playwright Helen Edmundson’s new version of Life is a Dream captures the original play’s power with elegant language and characters as fully human and recognizable as Shakespeare’s. Honor, humility, self-awareness, accountability, and dignity are values that define human aspirations the world round, but, as Calderón demonstrates, they are hard-won and fragile: without them, we are beasts. Staged by Elizabeth Carlin-Metz.
Originally debuting at London’s renowned Donmar Warehouse in 2009, the play was hailed as “a masterpiece” (The Sunday Telegraph). This USA premiere celebrates Vitalist’s continuing relationship with Helen Edmundson (The Mill on the Floss and Anna Karenina), a dynamic partnership that weds Edmundson’s vision with Vitalist’s commitment to plays of compelling ideas, muscular language, visceral performances, and lyrical design.