Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Galileo is coming to town

I'd bet to many people he is nothing more than a lyric in an operatic song by Queen that Wayne and Garth banged their heads too, but Galileo Galilei was a flesh-and-blood man.

He was a musician's son from Pisa who invented the telescope, confirmed that the Earth revolves around the sun rather than the other way around, and was called onto the Vatican carpet for this "heresy" and forced to recant - all for the privilege of spending the rest of his life under house arrest, rather than being publicly killed as a heretic like my boy William Tyndale.

That's the story behind Rick Foster’s play The Starry Messenger, which Upstream Theater will stage (in cooperation with the James S. McDonnell Planetarium of the Saint Louis Science Center) Dec. 10-20. Nicholas Tamarkin directs the production starring John Bratkowski and Pamela Reckamp.
The theater's press release states, "The play uses humor and drama to present equal measures of Galileo's scientific discoveries, the conflicts between science and religion, an example of the scientific approach to the truth, and a touching relationship between a difficult but loving father and his devoted but strong daughter."

(One of two daughters from a housemaid Galileo knocked up, by the way, who were put away in a convent, from whence Celeste wrote letters to her father complaining that the bread was bad, the wine sour, the ox meat gamy.)

The Dec. 10-20 run will include weekday matinees for schools and only three limited public performances on Dec. 13 & 14 at 4 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. at 305 S. Skinker (at Fauquier), between Wydown and Clayton Rd., across from Forest Park.

Tickets are $15 adults and $10 for 18 years old or younger, special rates for schools and groups of 20 or more with advanced purchase. Visit http://www.upstreamtheater.org/ or call 314-863-4999 for more information.
By the way, earlier this year The Vatican called "my bad" on the whole Galileo thing in consenting to have a statue of the stargazer erected in the Vatican gardens, outside the apartment where he was locked up, awaiting his trial, no doubt wracked with fear that he was going to be burned alive by the Pope's goons.


Galileo on the 2000 Lire note from a whole page of stuff like that.

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