This project will stage a radical reimagining of Brecht’s play Life of Galileo with the original text as a springboard for a wholly original theatrical experience. Galileo features collaborations with composer Andy Akiho, one visual artist, LA Dance Project, and a LA-based theater company making it a similar large-scale cooperative effort like previous projects by The Industry.
Yuval Sharon will both adapt the text for the project and direct the opera. By liberating the text of the traditional trappings of Renaissance astronomers and Grand Inquisitors, and connecting it instead to a wild young aesthetic, we have the opportunity to explore new ways of realizing Brecht’s theatrical theories.
New music commissioned specifically for this production concept will get at the beating heart of the work will give this timeless play a completely fresh and contemporaneous quality. Andy Akiho, an emerging composer who specializes in percussive pieces of enormous power and ingenuity, is the perfect collaborator for this work. The resulting score will not exactly be an opera, nor a musical, and not just incidental music, but a singular and indefinable mixture that will be part of what makes this experiment so extraordinary.
The themes of Galileo are timeless: the passion for exploring the unknown that drives mankind forward, and the celebration of independent thinking. To draw out the mythical, Promethean strands of the play’s themes, Galileo will be staged around an enormous bonfire. The production returns to the elements – fire, earth, sky, and water. The creative team will strip away all excess to create a visceral, powerful iteration of the piece. Our Visual artist will work with a pyrotechnics expert to design and create a monumental sculpture that will be set ablaze for each performance as well as a functioning stage area for performers. Ritualistically performing around the visceral power of the fire and against a backdrop of a limitless horizon, a troupe of actors will embody one of the core ideas of the play, that “Truth is the child of Time, not the prisoner of Authority.”
Galileo also tests the boundaries of what is traditionally perceived as high culture (opera and theater) and low culture (“Burning Man” and raves). We expect that this mixing of high and low will also attract a new audience who would otherwise be intimidated by a concert hall, or theater environment.
Galileo will be free and open to the public for three shows between September 21 – 24, 2017. It will be co-presented by the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs under the auspices of their triennial GLOW festival. GLOW is an all-night event that re-imagines Santa Monica Beach, with original commissions by artists, as a playground for thoughtful and participatory art.
Building upon the company’s track record of inspiring city and nationwide excitement for these new operatic experiences, The Industry believes Galileo will provide unexpected engagement with artistic excellence that helps us view civic life in a new way.