From Words to Action

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Yesterday morning, I saw Seton Hill’s production of Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderon de la Barca.  I thought the actors and actresses did an amazing job and I was really impressed.  The audience consisted of Angela, Kayley, me, a few other random people, and a bunch of high school students.  I really enjoyed the play myself, but as Angela observed in her blog entry, the same cannot be said for the rest of the audience. 

I was really impressed by the way they worked around the first scene.  I read the introduction to the written play and in it, it made a big deal about the beginning and how Rosaura and Clarin go from a mountain (high up) to below where Segismundo was caged (down low).  So I was quite curious as to how they were going to handle this without actually being able to go from high to low.  Instead, they had a part of the set that slide out from backstage which acted as the prison and I thought it worked well. 

While I picked up on a lot of the comedic lines which Clarin spurts while I was reading, it was a lot funnier to see in person.  They were just certain lines like when Clarin stammers, “I don’t yet have/enough courage to run away when I try to” (9), which just kind of feel flat and emotionless in the text.  But seeing them performed in person, they were quite funny.

Also, at the beginning of the play when Segismundo grabs Rosaura and threatens to kill her, in the written work, I didn’t even realize that he had grabbed her so violently and was trying to strangle her.  There is just something about seeing the work performed that makes everything click and become more apparent. 

Even though, they used a different translation to put on the play, I actually found the two versions to be really similar.  Also I think the constant repetition of words involving “fortune” such as misfortunate and unfortunate, was more apparent in the text, but not so much in the production.  But what was really clear in seeing the play was the repetition of “life being a dream.”  This thought was repeated enough and at the right places, that these words and this idea certainly impressed themselves upon the audience. 

Read what others think. 

2 Comments

Sue said:

Hey Greta,
I just saw the play tonight, didn't read the play yet, usually I read it first but haven't had time. I agree that you have to see the play to understand the funny parts. Shakespeare is like that too, you have to see the plays to even appreciate his clown characters. Its funny, I really think plays should be seen and not read, but if you read it often times it will help you understand the play better. It's a circle of craziness.

Yes, Greta, I didn't realize how violent Segismundo was until I saw the play. He grabbed people and sword fought. Some of it, I think, was added in. I definately don't remember reading about a sword fight (but I could be wrong). Being in the fencing club, I had to notice how poor the form of the actors was. lol. In their defense, if they did real fencing, it wouldn't be entertaining.

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