There is a fascinating show running at LaMama's Ellen Stewart Theatre at 66 East 4th Street that you will not want to miss. Act fast, for it closes this Sunday, February 26th. The play is "Calderon's Two Dreams," produced in association with Magis Theatre.
The play is based on two works by 17th century Spanish playwright Pedro Calderon de la Barca. "Life Is A Dream," first performed in 1635, deals with a Polish prince who has been imprisoned by
his father. Prince Segismundo is briefly released, goes on a rampage, and is re-incarcerated. His father tries to convince him that all that has been going on has been a dream. The main themes are
the conflict between fate and free will, and the nature of reality and our awareness of it. The play is very much an allegory that allowed the playwright to address changes taking place in Spain in terms of how people viewed the evolving relationship between faith and the state.
The second act of "Calderon's Two Dreams" is a classic morality play, telling the story of Creation and the Fall. Human characters, representations of Nature personified, and a Trinity of Power, Wisdom, and Love interact with Man, helping him to answer his question about who he is, where he came from, and why he has limitations. Imaginative puppetry helps in the telling of this stylized story. The production includes original music composed by the late Elizabeth Swados, who collaborated with Director George Drance in developing this project beginning 20 years ago. This second play, written much later in Calderon's life, looks again at human freedom through the eyes of age and wisdom. This production is the first time that these two Calderon plays have been performed together as a single piece.
The talented and energetic ensemble members play multiple roles in these two plays. They are:
- Danielle Delgado as Shadow
- Margi Sharp Douglas as Estrella/Water
- Erika Iverson as Horn/Air
- Leslie Lewis as Soldier/Wisdom
- Joe McGranaghan as Astolfo/Free Will
- Tsebiyah Mishael as Grace
- Gilbert Molina as Segismundo/Fire
- Gabriel Portuondo as Clotaldo/Earth
- Rachel Murdy as Servant 1/Understanding
- Ali Kennedy Scott as Servant 2/Prince of Darkness
- Dan Solomon as Man
- Ashley Setzler as Rosaura/Love
- Dennis Vargas as Basilio/Power
Solomon as Man with the Ensemble |
"Calderon's Two Dreams"
Magis Theatre Company
Ellen Stewart Theatre
Through February 26th
Photo by Theo Cote
I left the play intrigued, energized and inspired. I encourage you to make your way to the East Village between now and Sunday to catch one of the final performances of this unique treasure.
Magis Theatre Website