The Life of Galileo

A photo from the 2017 production of "The Life of Galileo."

Written by Bertolt Brecht
Translated by David Hare
Directed by Jeff Dintaman
Center for the Arts: Jewel Theatre
October 5-7, 2017

Press Release

Featuring music written by Luther students, the show follows legendary astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei in the later part of his life, and his struggle to prove the theory of a heliocentric universe. In a time of religious rule, Galileo’s avant-garde ideas made him very unpopular with the law—his belief and teachings of a sun-centered solar system had him sent to the Vatican of Rome to be interrogated for heresy.

Director's Notes

Galileo Galilei was born 16 February 1564. Through his entire life, Galileo fought off bouts of depression. His most notable discoveries occurred after he had left Pisa for the University of Padua in 1592. 


Inspired by rumors of a Dutch magnification device, in August 1609, Galileo made his telescope. By December, Galileo had turned his telescope to the moon. Galileo realized that the dark spots on the moon were mountains, with shadows moving over them as they did on earth. The shadows meant that the moon was not creating its own light. In 1610, Galileo noticed three bright stars around Jupiter. Just days later, the stars formed a different pattern. These observations together supported the Copernican model. Unfortunately, this model was not accepted by the church.


When Galileo traveled to Rome to present his work, his health began to fail. He asked the Pope for permission to write about the Copernican model of the universe in comparison to the church supported geocentric model. When the book was more critical of the geocentric model, the Pope felt betrayed.Galileo was put on trial, and pleaded guilty of wrongdoings against the papacy, but innocent of heresy. He read a statement claiming that he did not believe in the Copernican model of the universe, and swore not to write about a moving earth, or a stationary sun. In 1633, Galileo was condemned to “villa arrest” for life. Throughout the last years of his life, Galileo suffered from blinding cataracts, constant pain from a hernia, and insomnia. On the evening of January 8th, 1642, Galileo died, in the presence of his students and son.


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