17th-century Spanish play speaks to today’s concerns

(NCR Online) “Calderon’s Two Dreams,” drama from the golden age of Spanish theater, is being resurrected for the New York stage this month and it is showing strong parallels between two epoques: 17th-century Spain — when it was written — and present-day America.

The ill-fated title character was prophesied to be the worst tyrant that ever lived.

The production is two abridged versions of the same play, “Life is a Dream,” by famed Spanish dramaturge Pedro Calderon. The two renditions are to be presented back-to-back at New York’s East Village avant garde theater lab, La MaMa. Feb. 10-26.

The first — and more political — was written when Calderon was a popular court trendsetter with a mistress in tow; and the second, decades later as a priest. The latter version was nearly forgotten, while the former ranks in the “canon of great theater.”

“Large-scale, epic productions of mythic themes were the mainstay of Spanish entertainment at that point — comparable to ‘Game of Thrones,’” said Fr. George Drance, the Jesuit priest directing “Calderon’s Two Dreams.” [More]


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