Galileo | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Without epic theatricality, Brecht's emblematic plays can shrink to facile morality lessons. Director Christopher J. Berens reduces Brecht's 1947 quasi-Marxist retooling of Galileo's life--a brash, sweeping saga depicting his headstrong struggle to publish scripture-defying scientific discoveries despite threats from the Inquisition--to a measured chamber drama. Brecht created a morally ambiguous title character, part genius, part self-absorbed showman motivated by food, drink, and money, and if you overlook that ambiguity, Galileo becomes merely a noble if occasionally brusque truth seeker. Designer Apollo Mark Weaver artfully crams his expansive, rough-hewn set into the tiny space, although it's rarely shown to best effect by lighting designer Meagen Alm's clamp-on lamps. Through 10/15: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Side Studio, 1520 W. Jarvis, 773-973-2150. $10-$15.

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