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Mar. 01, 2012

‘Galileo’ Shines On, Off-Broadway

by Annette Heist

Click to enlarge images
Steven Skybell and F. Murray Abraham in 'Galileo.' Photo by Joan Marcus.
 
On this week’s show we’ll talk with the Brian Kulick, director of a new production of Bertolt Brecht’s classic play ‘Galileo,’ starring F. Murray Abraham. And in a Science Friday first, the Pope will join us. Well, kind of. Actor Robert Dorfman, who plays the Pope in ‘Galileo,’ is also a guest.
F. Murray Abraham and Andy Phelan in 'Galileo.' Photo by Joan Marcus.
Brecht wrote ‘Life of Galileo’ in 1938. (This production is of a translation by Charles Laughton.) Why stage a play about Renaissance-era astronomer written by a Cold War-era playwright, now? Kulick says the issues in the play–including the nature of truth, and how scientific truths come into the world–are pertinent today, particularly with regard to climate change. He writes, “I cannot help but think of the following couplet that concludes the prologue of the play, ‘For if we don’t learn from Galileo’s experience/Our planet might be making its final appearance.’ ”
 
Nick Westrate, Aaron Himelstein, Andy Phelan, Steven Rattazzi, F. Murray Abraham in 'Galileo.' Photo by Joan Marcus.F. Murray Abraham and Andy Phelan in "Galileo." Photo by Joan Marcus.
 
The ‘Galileo’ set was designed by Adrianne Lobel. Her goal, she says, was to make the audience feel like they’re sitting in a planetarium. (It worked. I did.) ‘Galileo’ runs at the Classic Stage Company through March 18th, 2012.
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About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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