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The current drama is about Galileo's struggle for the truth

The current drama is about Galileo’s struggle for the truth

– I got this play on my “would be interesting to do” list. But as a director, you have to think about the time to write a classic script — when it takes on meaning in the present, says Carolina Frandi, the play’s director.

This is where you think we are now. Or it was already before the pandemic, when he started working on the play. It discusses issues of great importance nowadays – about truth and error and what leads people to deny what can be said to be “true”.

– We have a contemporary situation with distrust and respect for science and facts. Truth is hard, but facts and credibility have somehow become a commodity. Today, you can simply question the principles by putting forward what it says it ought to be a certain way, just because the research says so… It’s a global phenomenon where we can be affected, she says.

Truth is hard, but facts and credibility have somehow become a commodity.

She hopes the play will lead to conversations about facts and alternative facts, and about basic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of research.

There are reasons for concern at the national and global levels. There is a strong tendency for us to lose respect for these basic freedoms, and art and science to control political and economic interests.

Galileo gave uncomfortable results

The play began in 1609. Ten years ago, the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned on a stake in Rome, after claiming that the Earth moves in orbit around the Sun.

Now Galileo Galilei has built a pair of binoculars aimed at the sky. He studies how the planets move and realizes that Bruno, and before him the Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, was right. The Earth is not the center of the world. Earth and other planets revolve around the sun.

Galileo was hailed as a hero, but the party came to an abrupt end. The Catholic Church intervenes and Galileo appears before the Inquisition in Rome.

The play was written in 1938 by writer Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) who was then living in Denmark, fleeing the Nazis. Brecht wrote political theater and was an active opponent of Nazism. He uses Galileo’s story as a story about him being a rebel in a totalitarian state.

– It is a clear context of the origin. The play premiered in Zurich and was not performed in Germany until 1956. Brecht died in the midst of rehearsals, says Carolina Frandi.

The most thought-provoking font

Galileo found himself in the midst of a scientific paradigm shift. The astrological view of the world was based on philosophy, but with instruments such as binoculars you can see what the sky looks like. When Galalis eventually found himself an inquisitor in Rome, he chose – before seeing the instruments of torture – to distance himself from his ideas.

Friends are disappointed and turn their backs on him, which made Galileo exclaim: “Unfortunate is a country that needs heroes.” It is an important scene, according to Staffan Goethe, who plays Galileo in the play.