Fascinating fight scenes, riveting romances and philosophy at its finest, Northwestern’s theater presents the Spanish Golden Age drama “Life is a Dream” by Pedro Calderón de la Barca for their fall mainstage show. Directed by veteran theatre professor, Dr. Bob Hubbard, the performances will take place on Nov. 11-12, 17-19 at 7:30p.m. and Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. in the England Proscenium Theatre.
“Life is a Dream” is a classical Spanish Golden Age drama written in Madrid, Spain in 1636 by Calderón, who is often referred to as the “Spanish Shakespeare.” The story is based on the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s allegory of the cave, which regards the human situation and mystery of life. The plot explores nature vs nurture in the fictional character of Segismundo played by sophomore theatre major Jack MacGregor. He is the rightful Prince of Poland, who has been imprisoned in a tower since his birth by his mother, Queen Basilia, played by sophomore theatre major Marissa Leraas, following a dire prophecy that the prince would bring disaster to the country and death to the Queen. Rosaura, senior theatre major Sierra Tumbleson, a spiteful woman traveling to Poland on a murder quest to kill her ex-lover Astolfo, who is sophomore worship arts major Josiah Troutner, with her sidekick Clarion, sophomore English teaching major Liam Nibbelink, accidentally stumble upon Segismundo’s prison.
The aftermath is a heroic adventure of honor, love, justice and fate. Other characters in the play include the princess Estrella, sophomore humanities major Rose Hooger, Segismundo’s jailer-Clotaldo, freshman music major Joel Moore and soldiers/revolutionaries, played by freshman computer science major Melissa Thompson and freshman theatre major Jessica Schulmeister.
The story takes place in Poland, but Dr. Hubbard has set it in the distant future. This has led to exquisite, futuristic designs in projections, sound, lights, sceneic elements and props by Jett Skrien, Drew Schmidt, Ethan Koerner, Sierra Tumbleson and Skylar Tumbleson.
The show is stage managed by junior theatre major, Madison DenHerder, and junior English teaching major, Anna Bram. MacGregor, says that the process of working on this show has been unique from the other shows he has been in at NW because he has had to create a world and character from a place that he has no recollection of. “I don’t know what it was like in the Spanish Golden Age, what it’s like to be locked up my entire life, or what the future may look like, but I have to try to imagine all of those scenarios.”
MacGregor states that witnessing the characters, designs and story come to life has been thrilling, and that everything is starting to “click together. It is starting to feel like its own entity.”
Dr. Hubbard chose this play because he’s taught it in his history/theory of theatre class and it has always been a student-favorite. He said that, “it’s been on my bucket list for years and seemed to fit our theatre season this year.”
On why people should come see this show, Hubbard said that “Life is a Dream” is, “a great classic that English speakers don’t know about. People think it is one of the best plays of the Renaissance, standing up there with Shakespeare’s works.”
You can get your tickets for Life is a Dream by going to https://nwciowa.ticketleap.com/