Indiana Daily Student

IU Theatre to present metaphysical drama ‘Sueño’ Feb. 10-12

<p>Directed by Daniel Sappington, “Sueño” is a modern take on Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Spanish play “Life is a Dream.” “Sueño” will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10-12 at Ruth N. Halls Theatre. <br/></p><p></p>

Directed by Daniel Sappington, “Sueño” is a modern take on Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Spanish play “Life is a Dream.” “Sueño” will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10-12 at Ruth N. Halls Theatre. 

The Spanish play “Sueño” will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10-12 at Ruth N. Halls Theatre. 

“Sueño” is directed by Daniel Sappington, a graduate candidate in Directing and associate instructor of theatre at IU. The drama is a modern take on Obie Award-winning playwright José Rivera’s translation and adaptation of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Spanish play “Life is a Dream.” 

Set in 1635, the drama follows the life of Prince Segismundo, who is the heir to the Spanish throne. Segismundo’s father, King Basilio, banishes the prince to a tower at birth when astrologers foresee his reign as king will result in the country’s ruin. 

Once the prince turns 25, Basilio releases Segismundo to test his potential as a ruler. If the prediction holds true, Basilio will re-imprison Segismundo and assure him that his son’s brief taste of freedom was nothing but a dream. 

Second-year master’s student and actor Gavin Douglas, who plays King Basilio, said although the play appears to be a dense classical piece, the modern language makes it accessible and relatable. 

“Because the language is modern, you will be able to grasp it instantly,” Douglas said. “It is really purposefully and carefully crafted for an up-to-date, modern audience.”

Sappington said while Shakespeare’s plays are frequently performed on university stages, the works of the Spanish Golden Age are often overlooked. While “Sueño” itself is an adaptation and not a Golden Age text, the play’s source material, “Life is a Dream,” is one of the most notable and dramatic texts to emerge from the era. 

Alexander Coniaris, left, and Caroline Lee Sanchez, right, are depicted during rehearsals. "Sueño" is a modern adaptation of a 15th-century golden-age Spanish play. Courtesy Photo

“This text serves as an entry point to the Spanish Golden Age,” Sappington said. “The cast and creative team are extraordinarily talented, and their work is nothing short of inspired.”

He also said scenic designer Rachel Rose Burke has created a Salvador Dali-inspired landscape that frames the play’s excitingly hellish and psychedelic nature. 

“Our approach reexamines this text not as a dream, but a nightmare of misogyny and male domination,” Sappington said. 

Douglas said the eccentric design choices of both the set and costumes presents this ancient story in a rather unconventional and shocking light, in the best way possible. 

“We’re not just working with the text, but we’re also working to subvert it and approach it in a very unique way,” Douglas said. “There are going to be moments where there is flowery, poetic language, and then something is going to jump out at you so abruptly that you won’t believe you heard it or saw it.”

Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for all other patrons.

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