(photo credit: Courtesy)
Playwright/director Ido Ricklin goes for the gut, but subtly, so that you only
realize what has hit you when the air whooshes out – “Oof!” So it is with his
production of Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo Galilei in which Amir Kriaf in the title
role literally illuminates truth, ignorance and stupidity, the quest for
knowledge, the price that is paid by those who openly challenge received wisdom
and the always-renewed necessity for that challenge.
Against the warm
pastel backdrop of Talia Ottolenghi’s spacious minimalist set – just the way
Ricklin likes it – and wearing Neta Haker’s often sumptuous period clothing, the
characters/actors manipulate contemporary stage-lighting instruments from the
great lamp that signifies the sun to the three small muted lights on poles by
which his monks intensify the pope’s smooth twaddle.
The play deals with
Galileo (1564-1642) versus the Church. The Church taught that the Earth is the
center of the universe and that the sun and all other celestial objects move
around it. Galileo, already in his own day a scientist, astronomer and
philosopher of great renown, said that Earth and the planets revolved around the
sun, a theory first advanced by Copernicus in 1542, upon which Galileo
Called before the Roman Inquisition, Galileo recanted and spent
the rest of his life under house arrest.
“How can I tell my peasant
parents…that we’re just a speck in the universe?” a young monk in the play
passionately asks Galileo because his theories upset people’s (read the powers
that be) sense of order and security.
Ricklin gives us a man who loves
life and its goodies in equal measure with the life of the mind, a man who
prefers to be a productive coward rather than a dead hero, and Kriaf lets us see
an all-stops-pulled-out Galileo that is an utter joy to watch.
of the cast, all of whom play more than one character, more than keep up. Yonit
Tubi, especially as Galileo’s daughter Virginia; Adva Edni as Galileo’s
housekeeper; Rodie Koslovsky, especially as the Cardinal Inquisitor; Tom Hagi as
Andrea Sarti, Galileo’s pupil; Guy Alon, Oren Cohen, Yirmi Reich and Yossi
Zabari all infuse the action with energy, passion, wit and magic.