Father and son fight of fate in “Life is a Dream”
By Aimee Kidrick
News & Features Editor
EOU senior Joshua Cornwell is normally a calm, composed guy. However, his role in the upcoming play production, “Life is a Dream,” requires him to be a bit more expressive.
“It’s really fun and challenging being a crazy person,” Cornwell admitted.
“Life is a Dream” was written by Pedro Calderón de la Barca in 1635, and, indeed, involves a man of questionable sanity. However, the character, named Segismundo, has good reason to be crazy. He has been imprisoned since he was a child. King Basilio, his father, learned from a prophecy that if his son took hold of power, his kingdom would fall into ruin. Basilio isn’t necessarily an antagonist, however.
“He’s not paranoid,” explains Cornwell. “He just wants to protect his kingdom.”
Years later, Basilio wants to give his son a chance to live his days free from imprisonment. When Segismundo learns that he could be ruler, however, he loses control of his temper and is placed in prison again.
The play may have ended there, with Segismundo doomed to live the rest of his days in prison, if it weren’t for some guards who would prefer Segismundo as ruler instead of Basilio. For better or worse, they release Segismundo again. Things in the play only get crazier from there.
“I go from being manically depressed to maniacally happy, to just an angry monster,” says Cornwell, who faces off against Basilio near the play’s end.
Besides Segismundo and Basilio, the latter of whom is played by Rick Mugrage, “Life is a Dream” features an ensemble cast of considerable size. Bryn McLaughlin plays Clarín, who becomes an ally of Segismundo, while Jeanie Nickel plays Rosaura, a woman who begins the play disguised as a man.
Other characters include Segismundo’s warden, Clotaldo, a princess, Estrella and a duke, Astolfo. These characters are played by Caleb Hulsey, Ellie Aiton and Brian Moore, respectively.
“(The play) has been super fun, and the cast has really grown,” says Cornwell. The cast has been rehearsing and practicing the play for over a month.
Ultimately, Cornwell hopes that everyone who goes to see the play has a good time.
“What I want (people) to expect is a comedy, really; mainly because of the other characters. My character is a downer, really, since I’m insane basically. And afterwards, I want (the audience) to have enjoyed the experience.”
“Life is a Dream” opens March 13 at the Schwarz Theatre in Loso Hall. The play starts at 7 p.m. from March 13 to 16 and is $5 for students. Contact the EOU Box Office at 541-962-3757 to reserve tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at ticketpeak.com/eou or at the box office in Loso Hall.