Donmar Warehouse Presents Life is a Dream

Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderon de la Barca in a new version by Helen Edmundson.

‘If I’m asleep, don’t let me wake. If this is real, don’t let me dream.’

To protect the country from the horrors prophesied, Segismundo is condemned for all eternity. Banished to a secret world high in the mountains and cut off from the sun, he can only dream of a life reversed; of palaces, empires, freedom and revenge.

Helen Edmundson’s new version of Calderon’s richly poetic, epic masterpiece explores illusion, reality, fate and destiny set against the backdrop of a mythical kingdom.

Life is a Dream is the best known work of the great Spanish playwright Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s (1600 – 1681). His other works includes The Surgeon of His Honour, The Phantom Lady, The House With Two Doors, Devotion to the Cross and The Painter of His Dishonour.

Helen Edmundson is a playwright and adaptor. Her original plays include Flying (National Theatre Studio), The Clearing (Bush Theatre – John Whiting Award for Best New Play) and Mother Teresa is Dead (Royal Court Theatre). She has adapted works that include The Mill on the Floss, Anna Karenina, Orestes – Blood and Light, Gone to Earth and War and Peace (Shared Experience), Coram Boy (National Theatre), Zorro the Musical (Garrick Theatre) and currently Swallows and Amazons (National Theatre) and Sorjuana (RSC). Her film and television work includes Malombra, The Clearing, The Spire and Estella.

Rupert Evans plays Astolfo. He last appeared at the Donmar in Kiss of the Spiderwoman. His other theatre work includes Broken Space Season (Bush Theatre), Romeo and Juliet, King John (RSC), Breathing Corpses (Royal Court) and Sweet Panic (Duke of York’s Theatre). For television, his credits include Emma, Monday Monday, The Palace, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fingersmith, North and South and Sons and Lovers; and for film, Sidney Turtlebaum, Agora, Guamtanamero, Otto and Hellboy.

Kate Fleetwood returns to the Donmar to play Rosaura. She previously appeared in Hecuba. Her other theatre credits include Macbeth (Chichester Festival Theatre, Gielgud Theatre, BAM, Lyceum Theater – Broadway), Twelfth Night (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Winter’s Tale and Pericles (RSC), Othello (Northampton Theatre Royal), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic) and Love’s Labour’s Lost (National Theatre). For television, her work includes Sarah-Jane Adventures, Waking the Dead and Hustle; and for film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 77 Beds and Vanity Fair.
David Horovitch plays Clotaldo. He previously performed at the Donmar in Mary Stuart (also Apollo Theatre). His other recent theatre work includes Collaboration/Taking Sides (Chichester Festival Theatre and Duchess Theatre), Seven Jewish Children (Royal Court), Major Barbara (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Cymbeline and Tamer Tamed (RSC). For television, his credits include Donovan, Dirty War, Goodbye Mr Chips, Second Coming, Great Expectations, The Sculptress, Ivanhoe, Just William and Vanity Fair; and for film, Young Victoria, Veiled, In Your Dreams, One Hundred and Two Dalmatians and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.

Lloyd Hutchinson plays Clarion – he recently appeared in Twelfth Night, part of the Donmar’s West End season. His other theatre work includes The Observer (National Theatre), The Birthday Party (Lyric Hammersmith), Rhinoceros (Royal Court), A Respectable Wedding (Young Vic), The Lightning Play (Almeida Theatre), Once in a Lifetime (National Theatre) and Talking to Terrorists (Out of Joint – national tour and Royal Court), as well as extensive work for the RSC. For television, his credits include Pulling Moves and Murphy’s Law; and for film, Slapper, Mrs Henderson Presents and With or Without You.

Sharon Small plays Estrella. She played Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera at the Donmar. Her other theatre work includes The Exonerated (Riverside Studios), Lear (Sheffield Crucible), When Harry Met Sally (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Green Fields (Traverse Theatre) and Insignificance (Chichester Festival Theatre). For television, her credits include Murderland, Mistresses, Inspector Lynley Mysteries, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cutting It, Glasgow Kiss and No Child of Mine; and for film, Last Chance Harvey, Dear Frankie and About a Boy.

David Smith plays Soldier 2/Servant 2. His theatre work includes Twelfth Night, The Cat Who Ran, Sleeping Beauty and Red Fortress (Unicorn Theatre), The Dumb Waiter, The Proposal (Compass Theatre Company) and Non-Contact Time and The Postman Always Rings Twice (West Yorkshire Playhouse). His television work includes Diamond Geezer, Waterloo Road and The Marchioness.

Malcolm Storry plays Basilio. His theatre credits include Oedipus, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Cyrano de Bergerac (National Theatre), The Lord of the Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), The Crucible, The Absence of War, Murmuring Judges (Birmingham Rep), The Tempest (Almeida Theatre), and
extensive work for the RSC including Antony and Cleopatra and Volpone. For television, his credits include Doc Martin, New Tricks, Above Suspicion, Jekyll, Dead Clever and The Debt; and for film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Man Who Knew Too Little, The Scarlett Letter, The Last of the Mohicans and The Princess Bride.

Dylan Turner plays Soldier 1/Servant 1. His theatre work includes High School the Musical (Apollo Hammersmith), Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales Theatre) and Sweet Charity (Sheffield Crucible). For television, Rhinestone Cowboys; and for film, Mamma Mia!.

Dominic West makes his Donmar debut as Segismundo. His theatre work includes Rock ‘n’ Roll (Duke of York’s Theatre), The Voysey Inheritance (National Theatre), As You Like It (Wyndham’s Theatre), Design for Living (Broadway), The Country Wife (Sheffield Crucible), and The Seagull (Ian Charleson Award) Cloud Nine and Waste (all Old Vic). For television, his credits include Breaking the Mould, The Devil’s Whore, The Wire and Nicholas Nickleby; and for film, Centurion, From Time to Time, 300, Hannibal Rising, The Forgotten, Mona Lisa Smile, Rockstar, 28 Days and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Jonathan Munby directs. His work includes Serious Money (Birmingham Rep), The Dog in the Manger (Washington Shakespeare Theatre Company), The White Devil (Menier Chocolate Factory), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe), Henry V, Mirandolina (Manchester Royal Exchange), Gilgamesh, Firebrand (National Theatre Studio), A Number (Sheffield Crucible), Nakamitsu (The Gate) and Don Giovanni (English Touring Opera)

Designed by Angela Davies, lighting by Neil Austin, the composer and sound designer is Dominic Haslam, the composer and musician is Ansuman Biswas and movement direction is by Mike Ashcroft.