Life is a dream at Reeves Theatre

It’s that time of year again, and Seton Hill University’s (SHU) Theatre Program is getting ready to open up with their third show of the 2008-2009 season at Reeves Theatre. “Life is a Dream” is a classic Spanish Golden Age drama by Pedro Calderon del la Barca, and will performed in a new translation by Nilo Cruz.

By Bethany Bouchard

Contributer

It’s that time of year again, and Seton Hill University’s (SHU) Theatre Program is getting ready to open up with their third show of the 2008-2009 season at Reeves Theatre. “Life is a Dream” is a classic Spanish Golden Age drama by Pedro Calderon del la Barca, and will performed in a new translation by Nilo Cruz.

It tells the story of Segismundo, who was imprisoned since his birth because of a prophecy that he would kill his father, the king Basilio, and be a destructive ruler. Basilio decides to release him, but Segismundo behaves “savagely” and is imprisoned again.

Then there is an uprising from the people to try to reinstate Segismundo as the rightful ruler. Want to know how it turns out? “You’ll have to see it to find out what happens next!” Matt Henderson, a junior playing Clarin, said, but promises it will be interesting.

Contrary to many classical plays, the translation of “Life is a Dream” being produced is a lot less “flowery and artificial” when it comes to the language used. Henderson reassures that “the language is much more simple and direct than in other older versions,” which makes it easier for a contemporary audience to connect with. Cruz’s translation of the play was commissioned for the South Coast Repertory Theatre in 2006.

Producing a classical play for a contemporary audience entails some extra preparation from the cast and crew of the production, in order to ensure maximum audience appreciation and receptiveness. Brittany Huffman, a junior in SHU’s Theatre Program and stage manager of “Life is a Dream,” had many positive things to say about the show.

She said, “My favorite part of the show is getting to see evolve from just a script to a full stage show and seeing my peers realize things within the script as well.”

A guest director, Kellee Van Aken, who has worked with SHU’s theatre program before on “Kindertransport” during the 2005-2006 season, is directing “Life is a Dream.” The cast includes Sarah Laughland, Matt Henderson, Nathan May, Matt Corridoni, Anderson Parker, Natalie Moretti, Brendan Duffy, Nate Erret, Cameron Corcoran, Kristy Bissell and Natalie Zamboni. This production of “Life is a Dream” is significant to the history of SHU’s theatre department, as it is the third show of the final season being performed at Reeve’s Theatre. Next year all main stage performances will be held in the new Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center, which is under construction and located in downtown Greensburg.

Performances of “Life is a Dream” will run February 27 at 10:30 AM and 8:00 PM, February 28 at 8:00 PM, March 1 at 2:00 PM, March 3 and 4 at 10:30 AM, and March 5, 6, and 7 at 8:00 PM. Student tickets run at $5 each.