This essay looks at one of the most neglected characters of the Spanish drama: Estrella in Calderón’s La vida es sueño. It argues that Estrella, as a metaphor of a humble actor and active spectator, is central to the play’s metatheatrical structure and to the reading of La vida es sueño as a type of theatrical manifesto. The importance of Estrella is explored in three different versions of the play created in three different linguistic and cultural contexts: a Spanish source, the 2006 Polish staging directed by Waldemar Zawodzinaski (based on Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz’s translation), and the 2008 Irish production directed by Tom Creed (based on Jo Clifford’s translation). By combining textual commentary with analysis of verse structure of the play in all three versions, the essay explores the unique potential that Estrella brings to contemporary theatre. Moreover, the discussion seeks to offer a fresh look at the metatheatrical strategies in the play and shows a renewed importance of verse for understanding and performing La vida es sueño and comedias in general.