Revolution of the Celestial Bodies

2001 co-produção com o Museu Nacional da Ciência e da Técnica/IHCT, em 2003 co-produção com o Museu Nacional da Ciência e da Técnica Dr. Mário Silva

This work iniciated with conviction a project we consider important and necessary – contribute to the nearness between Science and Theatre. Hence our need – theatre fellows – to share the responsibility of this work with a science institution – Museu Nacional da Ciência e da Técnica – to start this approach from the bottom.

Revolution of the Celestial Bodies dives in the evolution of our knowledge about our position in the universe, anchored in the scientific advances delivered by Ptolemy, Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, and questions the personal, social, political, religious and scientific problems they encountered in their search for truth. Questions deeply human, hence wonderfully theatrical, which seldom touch the very first and last question: Who are we?

The search continues today and forever. Who are we? What’s our role? Where was the beginning? And how? Are we alone in the universe? We do have one answer. In the theatre venue we are not alone. We are a whole, audience and stage, wrapped in a common question mark. And this answer brings some other questions. Is that our role? Questioning and share those questions with others? Propagate the questioning?
Do we really circle the Sun?

Synopsis

Revolution of the Celestial Bodies induces a reflection about our position in the universe. Goes back a few centuries to the time we set ourselves in the centre of the world with all the celestial bodies then known circling around us. A position defended then by the Catholic Church, interest in the privileged place that cosmological vision of the universe placed us, in the centre of God’s attention.

Ptolemy, Copernicus and Galileo traverse with questioning thoughts the few meters of their study, and reveal to us the deepness of their doubts which go beyond the scope of science. These are philosophical, religious, social, political and personal questions related to their cosmological.

In the play, Ptolemy finds an explanation for the central position of the Earth in the universe, as stated by Aristotle, and falls asleep satisfied with his conquer. It’s a 14 centuries sleep with the Earth standing still in the centre.

The fight between the conservative and the free spirits troubles the scientist’ sleep and he wakes in the dawn, tormented, and already as Copernicus. He fights an interior battle between his religious and his scientific beliefs. Finally, Copernicus ends up placing the sun in the centre of the solar system, and falls asleep exhausted from the battle.

Wakes up as Galileo. The morning is rising. The scientific spirit starts to wake. His telescope pointed at the sky presents new proofs that shatter the geocentric ideas still very present in the XVIIth century and profoundly connected to the Holy Scriptures. The scientist’s fight changes from interior to exterior, and ends up with his sacrifice. Galileo is condemned by the Holy Office accused of being heretic for defending the heliocentric system.

Based upon the lives of these three men, this play traces the evolutions of cosmology and of man’s vision about himself and the universe, and joins together theatre and science.

This play premièred on December 10th, 2001 in Coimbra, in the attic of the palace Sacadura Botte, headquarters of Museu Nacional da Ciência e da Técnica, and was presented from the 10th to the 15th of that month.

The revival of this play was presented in the same venue from July 23rd to August 2nd, 2003, and on October the 4th of the same year was presented in Lisbon, in Pavilhão do Conhecimento, included in the Physics On Stage festival.

Credits

Performed by: Mário Montenegro, Nica Guerra, Nuno Fareleira | Text and Direction: Mário Montenegro | Discussion and ideas: Isabel Rogeiro, Mário Montenegro, Nelson Rodrigues | Costume: Lisa Losa | Lighting: Mafalda Oliveira | Stage design: MARIONET | Hairstyling: Paula Rodrigues | Sewing: Cristina Rojão | Carpentry: Carlos Figueiredo | Photography: Francisca Moreira | Light and sound operation: Mafalda Oliveira, Rui Capitão | Executive production: MARIONET 2001, MARIONET 2003

Co-producers

MARIONET & Museu Nacional da Ciência e da Técnica Dr. Mário Silva.

Supporters

Câmara Municipal de Coimbra | GRETUA |  Ilídio Design |  MAFIA – Federação Cultural de Coimbra |  Residencial Marininha | RUC

Acknowledgements

Carlos Fiolhais, Carlota Simões, Fátima Lemos – Atelier de Costura, Fernanda Rojão, João Fernandes, Maria João Feio.

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