Theater at Mason Presents 'The Life of Galileo'

Theater at Mason brings Bertolt Brecht's "The Life of Galileo" to Fairfax this weekend.

Theater at Mason presents its final three performances of  “The Life of Galileo” by Bertolt Brecht April 6 and 7 in George Mason University’s Harris Theater.  Shows are at 8 p.m. both evenings, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Equity actor Matthew Vaky portrays the title role, working with a company of student actors and stage managers.  The show is directed by Rick Davis.

“This production of ‘The Life of Galileo’ offers a great introduction to the Theater at Mason paradigm, as it features a robust blend of professional and student artists,” Davis said. “One of the great things we're experiencing is the collaboration of the professional design team and their student assistants," he said.  "It's terrific to have an experienced and mature pro in the title role, as Matthew Vaky sets a great example for the students in the cast with his rehearsal craft and his outstanding role modeling, to risk a pun.”

The version being performed was adapted by award-winning playwright David Edgar from a literal translation by Deborah Gearing.  It includes material from Brecht’s final version of the play, written in the 1950s. That version incorporates structural elements from the earlier “American” version, which Brecht wrote in the 1940s in collaboration with actor Charles Laughton. Brecht originally began working on “The Life of Galileo” in 1938, and continued revising the play until his death in 1956.

The inspiration behind Brecht’s numerous revisions came from various circumstances in the changing world, such as the atomic bomb, and later, an increasing sense of the failure of orthodox communism, which in its rigid insistence on obedience to a set of fixed ideas, came to resemble, in Brecht’s opinion, the inflexibility of the 17th century Roman Catholic Church when confronted with new scientific facts.

The design team for “The Life of Galileo” comprises Mason theater faculty and graduates of the theater program who now work as professionals in the greater Washington, D.C. region.

The production will feature scenic design by Dana Maier, costume design by Ivania Stack, lighting design by Liz Replogle, sound design by Kevin Dunayer and prop design by Suzanne Maloney, who is also the dramaturg. Each designer and the director is assisted by students selected from the Department of Theater.

Tickets for Theater at Mason’s production of “The Life of Galileo” are $20 for adults, $15 for students, faculty, staff, seniors and groups. To purchase tickets, please call 888-945-2468, visit cfa.gmu.edu or the box office.

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