[Update] The Harker Conservatory presents “Galileo,” first written by Bertolt Brecht just prior to World War II, then updated by Brecht in 1947. In the play, Brecht uses the later years of Galileo Galilei, the great natural philosopher, who was persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church for his scientific discoveries, to explore conflicts between dogmatism and science.
Director Jeffrey Draper said the play “offers a unique series of challenges to the actors and designers as the action takes place over 30 years in 13 scenes throughout Italy.” Working against classic theater traditions, the play presents a flawed protagonist and antagonists who are not wholly bad. The real protagonist of the play may be truth, with science and religion each fighting to claim it, said Draper.
To best prepare for their roles, Dr. Paula Findlen, Chair of the Department of History at Stanford University, came to speak to the cast at their retreat in October, and answer questions about Galileo Galilei and the Italian Renaissance. “Findlen often teaches a course on Galileo at Stanford and we were very lucky to have her address our students and give us an invaluable context for the events of the play,” Draper noted.
“This version of Galileo is unique to Harker, however, as two actors will be sharing the title role each night,” Draper said. “They are each on stage throughout, with Adi Parige (Gr. 11) playing the more family-oriented and comfortable half of the man and Kendra Moss (Gr. 12) playing the more ambitious and scientific side of him.”
“The show contains a large musical production number,” added Draper, “in our case, staged as an extravagant puppet show with music created by Nico Nagle (Gr. 9), Kovid Puria (Gr. 10), John Ammatuna (Gr. 11), and Allika Walvekar (Gr. 11). This play is very much unlike any production Harker has presented before and is a perfect choice for a school that excels in math and science. We hope the entire community comes out to see this unique and challenging production.”
Show dates are Oct. 29, 30 and 31, at 7:30 p.m., at the Blackford Theater. Tickets are $25 reserved, $10 adults, seniors and students. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve tickets.