New York City
The setting is the dawn of the age of reason in the early 17th century when Galileo was teaching young students the incredible account of how the earth moves around the sun, rather than the other way around. His heretical announcement, that both the moon and Jupiter only reflect the sun’s light, is brought to the attention of the church and Galileo is summoned to the Vatican. His friends abandon him and his appeal to the Pope is intercepted by the inquisitor. Galileo recants, but even while imprisoned continues his writings surreptitiously. Throughout his life Galileo is pitted against an institution which claims the truth as its own commodity and threatens torture and death to those who would offer an opposing vision. After emigrating to the United States from Hitler’s Germany, Brecht translated and re-worked the first version of his play in collaboration with the actor Charles Laughton. The result of their efforts was the second ‘American version’ of the play, which to this day remains the most widely-staged version in the English-speaking world.
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