Life Is A Dream - NIU School of Theatre and Dance

Written by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Translated by Harley Erdman and Lauryn E. Sasso
Directed by Stanton Davis

The King of Poland, Basilio, gets an omen that his son, Segismundo, will grow up to be a tyrant. When he hears this fortune, he locks his son up in a tower to keep his kingdom safe. He tells the world that his son died. Clotaldo, a trusted commander of the King, has guarded the tower since Segismundo’s birth. He is on strict rules to make sure no one ever sees Segismundo and if they do, it results in their death. At court, the King is greeted by his niece and nephew, Estrella and Astolfo. They are there to help sort out who will take succession of the throne.


The King ends up coming forward and telling everyone that his son is not actually dead. They decide to conduct an experiment to see if he will live up to his tyrannical omen. They will make him go to sleep and tell him the whole truth and let him rule the kingdom for a day. Segismundo rejects his father and tries to claim his right to inherit the throne. The King responds by saying that this may all be a dream and orders his son to be put back to sleep and taken to the tower. The kingdom is split between supporters of the King vs. Segismundo. Rosaura tries to get Segismundo’s help with killing Astolfo because he has ruined her honor. Clarín dies during the battle from a gunshot.


The King realized he can’t defeat his son, so he surrenders at his feet. Instead of acting like a tyrant, Segismundo raises his father up from the ground. Segisumundo is then announced as the successor to the throne. The King restores Rosaura’s honor by having her marry Astolfo. Estrella marries Segismundo. Everything in the kingdom has finally settled.

Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 2:00 PM

Stevens Building, Sally Stevens Players Theatre
200 University Circle, DeKalb, IL 60115

Event Type

Concerts, Exhibits and Performances


Arts and Culture

Target Audience

Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, General Public, Prospective Students



$7 for adults and seniors, NIU students free with pre-reserved ticket

College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Theatre and Dance
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