New York City
In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the year Galileo first turned his telescope upward and changed the way human beings thought of their place in the cosmos, Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT and Underground Railway Theater present Bertolt Brecht’s The Life of Galileo. The play is translated by David Hare, directed by David Wheeler, and stars Boston area favorite Richard McElvain in the title role.
One of Brecht’s most well known and complex plays, The Life of Galileo explores the life of the founder of modern science and the conflict between reason and faith. Written on the brink of World War II while the playwright was exiled from Germany and living in the U.S., Brecht examines the ordeal Galileo was forced to undergo as he set his personal passions and beliefs against the authorities of Church and State. It reveals the famous scientist’s self-hatred for giving up his convictions in the face of the Inquisition, and poses powerful questions that resonate today about the social responsibility of the scientist.
The Life of Galileo also takes a bold look at the costs and implications of scientific discovery. What are the repercussions of a fundamental paradigm shift? What must we change about the ways we live our lives when a single breakthrough rocks the very foundations of our belief systems? In the late Renaissance, it was the cosmos; in the 19th century, evolution; today, the possibilities that might be unearthed by unlocking the human genome. In The Life of Galileo, Galileo’s scientific and personal integrity are put to the test as he argues for his very life in a passionate debate over science, politics, religion and ethics; the debates rage on today.