Starry Messenger Aims Its Lens on Galileo

Ira Hauptman tries to follow up Brecht

What teenager hasn’t begged their father to change his mind about something—a curfew, maybe, or a coveted new pair of shoes? Ira Hauptman’s Starry Messenger stages just such a standoff, only here the stubborn patriarch is none other than Galileo, whose whiny offspring beseech him to recant his world-changing astronomical discoveries. (In Renaissance Florence, cool kids didn’t have religious heretics for dads.)

Hauptman offers an endearingly earnest look at the stargazer’s dilemma—helped by Susan Einhorn’s efficient direction, and David Little’s capable performance as Galileo. But Starry Messenger doesn’t bring anything new about the astronomer into focus. Tunic-clad actors stride purposefully across a bare stage, badgering Galileo to renounce his shocking declaration that the Earth rotates around the sun. One daughter insists recanting would rescue plague-stricken Florence, while her delirious sister turns oracle, rattling off revelations from the future—gravity, evolution, atom bombs. “Subatomic particles!” she shrieks. “My God, restore her mind,” Galileo replies.

Beware the subatomic particles!
Jonathan Slaff
Beware the subatomic particles!

Details

Starry Messenger
By Ira Hauptman
Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
212-254-1109, theaterforthenewcity.net

This is an amusing reminder that most scientific truths once seemed incomprehensible, and that progress often begets destruction. But didn’t we already know that? Brecht wrote Galileo, his masterpiece on the same subject, right after the first nuclear explosions. Religion versus science always makes for feisty drama—but breakthroughs are hard to come by when you’re re-performing old experiments.

 
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6 comments
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dean
dean

I tried to get tickets last night, but it was sold out. Will try to hit the box office today. Hopefully there will cancellations.

Slingshot441
Slingshot441

We liked the show enough to see it a second time. The entire cast was impressive. I especially liked the performance of Marnye Young, who played the sane daughter. She shaded her character in a different, and interesting manner from the day before.

checkers
checkers

I enjoyed this play, and highly recommend it.

Red Skidmore
Red Skidmore

Wow. This is the most vapid review. It isn't even close to describing the play.

Billy Rhodes
Billy Rhodes

Did this reviewer even see the play? It is the polar opposite of Brecht's! The reason this Galileo recants is totally different from Brecht's reasons. Brecht's Galileo is secular, and recants out of fear. Hauptman's Galileo is deeply religious. Unlike the audience, the reviewer didn't notice the stunning performance by Arc Angela! When she tells Galelio the horrors of the future of science, the point of the scene wasn't to tell the audience something it doesn't know, but to show the effect of this knowledge on Galileo's 17th century mind. There was much humor and irony. Tthe play is ahistoric. It's a fiction.If, unlike the audience, the reviewer didn't like the play, she failed to say why. Earth to Felton-Danisky: go back, watch this complex, ironic and brilliant play again.And, (tap tap) PAY ATTENTION next time!

Monika
Monika

Miriam jetes glupia jak but z lewej nogi.

 
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