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Gallileo still moves

This reviewer is sorry that he did not get to his job sooner: Had he done so, he could have told you to go see an excellent performance by the MIT Community players.

Galileo is Bertolt Brecht's recounting of Galileo's confrontation with the Catholic church. His play conjures up the ignorance that ruled Galileo's era in the guise of learned thought.

The control exerted by the church in the 1600's was based on the belief that the church was the sole judge of the truth. Brecht's Galileo runs afoul of the church when he decides that it is the human mind that is the sole judge.

As the play opens, we see the interaction between Galileo and one of his students. Michael Goodson is stern yet not pedantic in the part of Galileo. He conveys Galileo's desire to know and to make known.

The play starts on a momentous day in history, the day Galileo learns of the telescope. From there we follow through nearly twenty years of astronomical discovery and ecclesiastical turmoil. William Saunders and Jomo deserve note for their supporting performances. Saunders plays several parts, the most notable of which is that of the jovial prelate (and later pope) who confronts Galileo and later breaks his will. Jomo does well both as a friend who tries to caution Galileo and later as a monk who decides to deny the church and study astronomy with Galileo.

The play was not without its faults: Spreading ten actors over forty-one parts can lead to confusion which was made worse because part changes were often done without any significant change in costume. While many of these were only incidental parts, the presence of a brightly colored sash for a man or shawl for a woman would have made a world of difference.

Tony Butler's Prince and Jeannie Collins' Virginia -- Galileo's daughter -- suffered for a failure to distinguish portraying a dull character and portraying a character dully.

Galileo exposes the relationship between power and ideas. This play shows us the struggle of free inquiry with blind faith. The MIT Community Players have done a wonderful job of bringing it to life.

James F. Kirk->