Monday, March 12, 2012

Galileo: Faith and Science Snoozefest

F. Murray Abraham stars in a tedious production of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht (translation by Charles Laughton) at Classic Stage Company.  Directed by Brian Kulick, it is the story of Galileo's scientific discoveries and how he dealt with the advance of science in a age of religious power and control.  Though the subject matter still has relevance today (with efforts to eliminate the theory of evolution from schools or teach it with creationism), this production and this translation do nothing to connect to a modern audience.

With the set covered in circles (the giant silver bubble objects hovering over the stage reminded me of the beryllium spheres in Galaxy Quest) and the staging on a large lazy Susan platform (I wish it rotated for complete ridiculousness), everything about this show felt on the nose.  Costuming in heavy tapestry material in matchy-matchy tops and bottoms was dreadful.   F. Murray Abraham took a very naturalistic approach to the role of Galileo.  But often the production did not.  Awkward tone shifts between comic and serious moments did little to help the material feel powerful or meaningful. There was an incredibly awkward scene with stick-dancing.  I just...what else can I say?

Suffice to say, this was not my cup of tea.  In the end I enjoyed the comic relief brought by Steven Rattazzi and the haughty cardinal as played by Robert Dorfman even if it was not part of a cohesive production.

If you have to skip a show this spring because of all the new shows opening, this would be one you could skip.


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