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Huh, I've got a lj - er, review on Galileo

So, the local acting company, the MET is currently running their performance of Galileo.  My family sort of conspired to send my sister and brother-in-law away from their baby for the evening and we took in dinner and a show (the 'rents handled the baby-sitting). 

Firstly, my experience with Galileo is somewhat limited (discovered gravity as constant, discovered pointing the telescope upwards into the sky - er, modern astronomy sounds better, discovered moons named in his honor at Jupiter and Saturn's rings, realizing that different objects could orbit others and first clear evidence to disrupt geocentric universe model - recanted before church) but the play does a good job bringing you up to speed.   I thought the set design was excellent (relatively simple, large space in the middle between the two seat areas, but the pillar and tile arrangement was able to serve as many Itallian spaces) and they handled Brecht's heavy-handness with his narration with aplomb (similar to Ui, stage directions call for little signs to come up to talk about what's going on - they don't draw parallels as blatantly as Ui does).

The cast was good - the lead, T. Max Graham, is normally known as a comedy actor in KC, but was excellent at bringing such a, well, character to life.  The supporting cast and ensemble was the MET's usual standard.

It's interesting, as this is a science play, to compare it with Copenhagen from last season (which inspired me and my parents to get season tickets), and The Crucible,  another play about truth to power, and was also put on this year (the MET has something of a knack for putting on old classic plays with large ensembles on a small budget, and doing it well).  Copenhagen was about what happens after the science is out of the bottle, the fears that were expressed in Galileo (which, honestly, probably made the church's argument stronger near when the play was written; it was 39, the jet was on the way and Fermi was starting to look around for a good squash game) but I think it was stronger since it provided several answers to its own questions.  Crucible is a deeper page (and probably my favorite from the MET this year) with more running around under the surface, the fear and lies have several sources. 

Also, I don't think Brecht's the world's best playwright - his plays have a lot of passion, but his agenda is again on display (it's an entirely reasonable agenda, considering he's a German playwright who fled Hitler and seeks to point out the dangers of such totalitarianism) but he doesn't handle the material with, say, Miller's touch.  He's heavy-handed, but his dialog and earnestness carries him through. 

All in all, it was an excellent production of a well-known dramatic work, and worth seeing if you're in the area.

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