The cast of "Sueno" at the Trinity Rep Source: Mark Turek

Review: Trinity Rep's 'Sueno' Is an Absolute Delight

Will Demers READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Obie Award-winning playwright Jose Rivera ("References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot," "Cloud Tectonics") takes a stab at adapting the 17th century play "La vida es sueño" ("Life is a Dream") at Trinity Repertory Company. "Sueno," his adaptation, is an absolute delight.

The original play, written around 1630 (the actual date is in question) by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, is an early Spanish work that explores themes of astrology and the human situation amongst royalty. It's narrative follows King Basilio of Poland (Anne Scurria), who has imprisoned his infant son, Segismundo (Daniel Duque-Estrada), because an oracle has prophesied that he will bring disgrace to Poland and murder the King. Rather than wait for the child to grow up in the palace, Basilio places his son in a mountain prison, where he is looked after for 25 years by Clotaldo (Rudy Cabrera).

After the 25 years pass and there is no heir apparent at court, an aging Basilio is beset by cousins Estrella (Jihan Haddad) and Astolfo (Alfredo Antillon), who are convinced if they marry they will get the throne. Meanwhile Rosaura (Catia) and Clarin (Andrew Gombas) have been abandoned by their horses while walking through the mountains of Poland. When they discovering poor Segismundo, he informs them that he does not know the reason for his imprisonment. And when he sees Rosaura (dressed as a man), he falls for her.�

The events set in motion by the child's imprisonment make a delightful journey that's highlighted by humor, drama, and sword fights (expertly choreographed and fun to watch). Rivera, who won the Obie for "Marisol," which Trinity produced in 2019, takes the audience on quite the ride, with a truly complex work imbued with fascinating dialog and relevant themes, despite its archaic source. Tatyana-Marie Carlo directs a fabulous cast of performers who absolutely appear to enjoy this ride as much as the audience does.

Duque-Estrada continues his tradition of excellent performances here; his journey is ripe with pathos and humor. Scurria is fantastic as always, giving the king a very funny edge. Cabrera is delightful as the king's right hand man, and Gombas (Mark Rose, who doubles as the fight coordinator) gives an absolutely hilarious turn as the hapless Clarin. Speaking of funny performances, both Haddad and Antillon vie for the center stage as each chew the scenery in the best possible way. But Catia seems to be having the most fun as the lady who has the most costume changes – and the most laughs.

Kudos to set designer Patrick Lynch's fantastically transformative set which toggles between the palace, a mountain prison, and the mountains. It's a grand undertaking. The supporting cast doesn't disappoint, either. Victor Neto and Arturo Puentes both are clearly enjoying their smaller roles as swashbuckling soldiers. If theater is your escape from everyday life, "Sueno" is the show which will bring you into a world of humor, adventure, and drama.

"Sueno" is currently running through May 8th at Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington Street Providence, RI 02903. For information or tickets, call 401-351-4242 or visit

by Will Demers

Read These Next