The translation is by Kathelin Hoffman of the Theater of All Possibilities, which produced the play in Santa Fe in 1971.
Born in Madrid in 1600, Calderón wrote the first of his many plays at the age of 13, shortly after the death of his mother. His father, who was secretary of the treasury, died two years later. Lope de Vega, the literary giant who established the classic Spanish theater along with Lope de Rueda and Tirso de Molina, recognized and promoted the extraordinary talents of the younger Calderón, who became Spain’s preeminent playwright after Lope’s death in 1635. Calderón wrote and produced many plays for King Phillip IV at the specially constructed Buen Retiro Park, which featured such technical marvels as rising islands and artificial waves. Like Lope, Calderón had a distinguished military career, and became a priest later in life after the death of his son.
He wrote his last secular play at the age of 81, and died while working on a religious play in 1681. In all, he wrote 120 comedias (secular plays), 80 autos sacramentales (religious plays), and 20 entremeses (one-acts).