Life is a Dream

Pedro Calderón de la Barca, translated by Jo Clifford
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A masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age. It is foretold that Prince Sigismund will become a tyrant. Alarmed, his father, the king, imprisons him. When he is released for a day as an experiment he proves the omens only too right, and, as a result, is incarcerated once more. Sigismund persuades himself that all that has passed is a dream and emerges to rule wisely and justly.

Production Info

Cast: 8 total (2 female, 6 male)
Full Length Drama (about 120 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Period Costumes
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About the Author


  • Jo Clifford

    Jo Clifford (formerly known as John Clifford) is an award-winning playwright, translator, poet, and performer, who has also worked as a journalist and academic. She was instrumental in establishing the reputation of the Traverse Theatre Company in the 1980s. Jo Clifford is the author of over 70 works in every dramatic medium. Her work has been translated into many languages and has been performed all over the world. Her plays include THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE; SEX, CHIPS AND THE HOLY GHOST; EVERYONE; AN APPLE A DAY; LOSING VENICE; PLAYING WITH FIRE; INES DE CASTRO; LIGHT IN THE VILLAGE; TCHAIKOVSKY & THE QUEEN OF SPADES; and CHARLES DICKENS: THE HAUNTED MAN. Also for the stage, Jo has adapted FAUST PARTS 1 & 2 and ANNA KARENINA, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, LA VIE DE BOHEME and WUTHERING HEIGHTS and has translated SCHISM IN ENGLAND, LIFE IS A DREAM, CELESTINA, THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA, and BINTOU. For radio, Jo has written SPAM FRITTERS, WRITING HOME TO MOTHER, MADELEINE, and AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE BLOOMIN' WELL DEAD and has adapted BALTASAR & BLIMUNDA. Jo's adaptation of Charles Dickens's GREAT EXPECTATIONS has toured the UK. She lives in Edinburgh and is a former Professor of Theatre at Queen Margaret University.

  • Pedro Calderón de la Barca

    Born in Madrid, Spain, on January 17, 1600, Pedro Calderón de la Barca would eventually become one of Spain's most important dramatists. Along with the older playwright Lope De Vega, Calderón would dominate Spain's Golden Age of theatre. Educated at the Jesuit Colegio Imperial, Calderón studied law at the University of Alcalá (1614 – 15) and the University of Salamanca (1615 – 21), but did not earn a degree. In 1621, he entered the household of the Constable of Castille, Don Bernardino Fernández de Velasco. Two years later, in 1623, he began writing plays for the court. Calderón's most famous play, LIFE IS A DREAM, explores the conflict between free will and predestination. Aside from LIFE IS A DREAM, Calderón is perhaps best known for his plays of honor and revenge like THE MAYOR OF ZALEME, THE PHYSICIAN OF HIS HONOR, SECRET INSULT, SECRET VENGEANCE, and THE PAINTER OF HIS OWN DISHONOR. Calderón became a priest in 1651, but continued to write plays as the court dramatist for Philip IV. He also wrote two autos sacramentales each year for the city of Madrid. In his later years, he developed a series of elaborate mythological themes that reflected the tastes and interests of the Spanish Court during the waning years of the Golden Age. He died in Madrid on May 25, 1681. Of his 120 surviving works, approximately eighty are autos sacramentales, morality plays celebrating the mystery of the Eucharist on Corpus Christi day.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher Nick Hern Books
Publication Date 12/15/1999
Pages 96
ISBN 9781854591883

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Life is a Dream is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


4/13/2023 – 4/22/2023
Mgsa Theater Department, Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ

3/24/2022 – 4/2/2022
Duke University Department Of Theater Studies
Durham, NC

5/2/2019 – 5/6/2018
Wesleyan University Theater Department
Middletown, CT

4/19/2018 – 4/28/2018
Shakespeare Carolina
Charlotte, NC