NORTH NEWTON, KAN. Bethel College theater students will present "Galileo" by German playwright Bertolt Brecht. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m., Nov. 13, 14 and 15 in Krehbiel Auditorium, Fine Arts Center at Bethel College in North Newton. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens. All seating is general admission. Call (316) 284-5281. Tickets will also be available at the door. Director is Brent Noel, assistant professor of communication arts.
Set in 14 episodes, the plot describes the struggle between scientific questioning and religious traditions. Galileo turns his telescope on the heavens and finds out the earth is not the center of the universe. This threatens the church hierarchy who feel that if word gets out, they will no longer be seen as God's ultimate authority on earth.
Brecht is one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century, according to Noel. Brecht developed a style of theatre, called epic theatre, where the audience is expected to remain emotionally detached from the events of the story in order to form critical opinions about the characters and their actions.
"This play examines the tenuous balance between the quest for intellectual truth and the need for religious tradition," Noel says. "As a church-affiliated liberal arts college, that's what Bethel College is all about. We have certain traditions here, but we're also in the business of discovering new ideas. That can be an exciting, but sometimes frustrating, tension."
The play also looks at how far one should be willing to go to defend one's point of view.
"'Galileo' asks the question, 'Is it better to be a martyr for a cause or to stay alive and continue working and thinking under an oppressive system?' I hope the play provides for some interesting discussion," Noel says.
The cast includes Jeremy Schrag, senior from Moundridge, as Galileo; J.J. Birky, senior from Colorado Springs, Colo., as Andrea; Alli Simon, sophomore from Derby, as Mrs. Sarti; Henry Dick, junior from Bloomington, Ill., as Ludevico; Jason Heppler, junior from Bel Aire, as Curator; Christa Taylor, sophomore from Kidron, Ohio, as Virginia; Nicklaus John Schrag, sophomore from Freeman, S.D., as Segredo; Emily Kerbs, freshman from Newton, as Matti; Shawn Rath, freshman from Moundridge, as Bellarmin; Aaron Linscheid, freshman from North Newton, as Barberini; Nicole Polte, junior from Breckerfeld, Germany, as Philosopher; Maria Tschetter, senior from Freeman, S.D., as Prince; Parker Stanley, freshman from Liberty, Mo., as Federzoni; Ben Gundy, sophomore from Bluffton, Ohio, as Inquisitor; Amy Castle, freshman from Gardner, as Little Monk; Caitlin Welch, freshman from Lawrence, as Mathematician.