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Holmdel Theatre Company Presents Life is A Dream (Official Press Release)


February 20, 2019

The Holmdel Theatre Company announces its production of Life Is a Dream and directorial debut of longtime company member Chris Szczerbienski.

Holmdel Theatre Company Life Is a Dream Poster

HOLMDEL, NJ – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) is excited to continue its tradition of bringing unexpected, classic pieces to their theatre with their upcoming production of Life Is a Dream.

Originally penned by Pedro Calderón de la Barca in 1635, Life Is a Dream is a Spanish-language play commonly hailed as the prime example of theatre and drama during the Spanish Baroque period. The adaptation being produced is by Diane Dowling, Professor of Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY. Dowling adapted the piece using Stanley Applebaum’s literal English translation of the play.

Life Is a Dream tells the story of fictional Segismundo, Prince of Poland, who, following an ominous prophecy that he will bring destruction and disaster to the kingdom and death to the monarch, is imprisoned in a tower by his own father, King Basilio. When Basilio briefly frees Segismundo from his confines, the Prince goes on a rampage, and the King imprisons him once again, persuading him that it was all a dream. The piece serves as a study on the mysteries of life and the human condition, a philosophical masterpiece dancing around the concept of fate vs. fantasy.

Longtime HTC sound and light designer Chris Szczerbienski is set to make his much-anticipated directorial debut when the play opens on March 29th.

Szczerbienski began his journey with HTC as a carpenter and stagehand during the summers of his high school years, his first show being Antigone in 2004. He first read about Life Is a Dream in his freshman year at Muhlenberg College, where he majored in Theater and Philosophy.

“What stood out to me about [Life Is a Dream] was how the main struggle for the characters wasn't a simple villain, but more of a philosophical struggle -- what is the nature of reality, what is right and wrong?” Szczerbienski states. “Since first reading the show, I desperately wanted to work on it.”

Life Is a Dream Cast Photo
Life Is a Dream Cast Photo by Mike McLaughlin. Top Row L to R: Peter Newes, Di Shawn J. Grandy, Jessica Freeland Middle Row L to R: Jesse Luciani, Felicia Russell, Aaron Ratzan, Anthony Aversano Bottom Row L to R: Emily Gendelman, Melissa Lee, Lisa Catalfamo

Szczerbienski spent a semester in London studying Spanish theater, during which time he attended a production of Life Is a Dream and saw an exhibition of Spanish sculpture from the era of Calderón. He learned that artists from that time had a philosophy that this life is nothing more than us dreaming as angels, and that in our death we awake and God judges us on the dreams we had. The sculptures in this time period were made to be as realistic as possible, showing that if a person is able to trick others into thinking the sculpture is real, then we could be easily convinced by a higher power that the dream we're experiencing is real.

Since graduating and returning to HTC, Szczerbienski has rallied to include a production of Life Is a Dream in one the company’s seasons. A staged reading of the piece was a massive hit and began the hype that ultimately led to its inclusion in HTC’s 30th Season, much to the thrill of Szczerbienski and the theater’s artistic staff, who strive to bring lesser known, classic pieces into the public conscious.

“I’m excited to be working on this show and to be able to dive into the material deeper than I ever had,” Szczerbienski says.

“It’s amazing to see Chris in this role and to see him working on a production that really means a lot to him,” adds producer, Laurie Devino.

Rehearsals are well underway for the production as opening night approaches. A talented cast studded with new and returning HTC actors is set to bring Szczerbienski’s passion project to life in the theater he has called home for nearly fifteen years. The show is produced by Heidi Bonney, Laurie Devino, and Joyce Horan.

Life Is a Dream opens March 29th at Holmdel Theatre Company and will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through April 14th.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go HERE OR call 732.946.0427

Donations can be made HERE!

PRESS PASSES: Press passes for opening night (March 29) are available to members of the press intending to cover the show. Please email with the subject line 'LIFE IS A DREAM PRESS PASS' and include your name, your publication, and links to published pieces in the body of the email to request a press pass. One press pass allowed per publication/organization.


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