Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boys play Galileo

Students of Lahore Grammar School Johar Town Branch ( LGS-JT) performed the play ‘The Life of Galileo’ by Bertolt Brecht. The performance that started on the Feb 10 lasted three days — and ended just three days before Galileo’s 448th birthday. It was presented by Real Entertainment Productions and directed by Karen David and Omair Rana.
The plot revolves around a poor Galileo who replicates the technology of a telescope and sells it as his own invention in the Venetian Republic. He uses this to validate Copernicus’s theory about the solar system that it contains planets, including Earth that revolves around a stationary Sun.
However, this belief was unpopular among the public and clergy of the time. And eventually, when the Vatican threatens him of torture, Galileo takes his judgment back. But in the end, he gives his pupil Andrea a compilation of all his scientific discoveries and requests him to smuggle it out of Italy. This is an abridged version, since the actual play included Galileo’s daughter’s marriage and its failure because of Galileo’s unwillingness to expel his unconventional, rather eccentric outlook. This portion was left out, possibly because the school is all-boys.
It was refreshing to see the young men, their hair coloured white, interpreting not only Brecht but the life and times of someone as brilliant, unorthodox and significant as Galileo. Therefore, the idea of performing ‘The Life of Galileo’ for students was admirable in itself.
It was a pleasure seeing how these young lads presented this complicated script and theme with such maturity and ease. It was apparent from their presentation that they understood the social, emotional and historical conflict Galileo and his counterparts went through. Though the play was done by a school and is ideal for a younger audience, it is sad to note here that the attendance was fairly low all three days. On the last day of the show, merely sixty to seventy people were present, most of them parents of the participants and not students.
Almost all the performers outdid themselves as the play required them to perform beyond their years. However, the fat prelate played by Taimur and Andrea played by Abuzar were able to grab the viewers’ attention. Out of the minor characters, Sachal Tehseen as Sagredo and Hussain as the Pope were noticeable. The scene in which Sagredo complains to the Pope about Galileo was a particularly funny and powerful one. Yet the actor who added glow to the entire play was Aamir Tariq who played Galileo. His body language, gestures and even his gaze was imitative of a grand academic lost in thoughts and dreams. A genuine objection here is that he had a lengthy stage presence to leave his mark but it goes to his credit that he didn’t over-do it.
The play was a low-budget one, and it was remarkable and disappointing at the same time. The absence of a proper sound system was felt continuously because several dialogues appeared muffled. Since the seating arrangement was on a flat surface, the back-benchers had problem viewing. But this can be over-looked because the cost of improving these would have been substantial and impossible to meet without tickets. However, a major oddity was the dress of the characters. Most of them appeared in grey pants and white dress shirts, very unlike medieval Italy. This apparel calamity gave this fantastic performance the feel of a college skit. Otherwise, it was all smooth.
The best aspect of the play was that it was perceived and performed by youngsters for youngsters. Students must be encouraged to watch these plays so that a taste for drama and culture of theatre-going can be inculcated in them.
This play was first published in The News on Sunday


  1. Can you please tell in which newspaper was this published the exact date!!


      this is the link nd the date is there too...

    2. was this published in the paper or was just put up in the online edition?



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