Life is a Dream

The heavens were right to take away my freedom.
If I was free I’d pulverise this mountain
and use the rubble to build a staircase of stone.
I’d climb to the heavens and violate them.
I’d shatter the stars.

Twenty-one years ago, after receiving a dire astrological prediction, the king imprisoned his son in a mountain cave. Now, facing a crisis of succession, the king releases his son and orders the court to convince the young man that his incarceration was all a dream. With this radical treatment of a classic text, the audience are given an intensely voyeuristic experience of brute survival, the fragile interconnection between siblings, the deepest need for mothering and the dark struggle for love and power.

“THERE is theatre that makes us laugh at life’s absurdity, theatre that makes us weep at life’s tragedy and theatre that makes us quake and shiver by showing us the abyss that awaits humanity if we don’t hold fast to our moral compass. Daniel Schlusser’s production of Pedro Calderon’s Life is a Dream is very much in the latter category.” (Full Review)

Martin Ball, The Age

Press & Reviews

“Life is a Dream was a rich, difficult production, infuriating to some and unforgettable to most. The complexity of its aesthetic sensibility made it, for me, one of the most rewarding experiences of the year. Schlusser stripped back Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s 15th-century play to a raw core of power relationships and plot mechanics, then had a cast of bedraggled wastrels act out this excoriated drama as an infernal punishment. “

John Bailey, RealTime
Full Review

“I thought it remarkable and beautiful theatre. Life is a Dream is one of the most successful explorations I’ve seen of the poetic connections between imagined realities both on stage and off. Although I’m not sure whether “success” or “failure” are appropriate words here: this is one of those works which makes such terms feel wholly redundant. I’m glad I was there.”

Alison Croggon, Theatrenotes
Full Review

Related Content

Daniel Schlusser

Original program note


George Banders, Brendan Barnett, Johnny Carr, Andrew Dunn, Julia Grace, Sophie Mathisen, Vanessa Moltzen, Sarah Ogden, and Josh Price

Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Daniel Schlusser

Beatrix Christian

Marg Horwell

Lighting Designer
Kimberly Kwa

Special Make-Up Effects
Dominique Mathisen

Sound Designer
Darrin Verhagen

Sarah Ernst for Daniel Schlusser Ensemble at The Store Room


November 20, 2009