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Life of Galileo

The Young Vic, London


A seismic shift in scientific thinking

Galileo Galilei: father, hero, heretic. When a chance discovery leads to evidence of a seismic shift in scientific thinking, Galileo sparks a dangerous dispute with authority. To challenge the idea that the earth is the centre of the universe is to challenge the all-powerful Roman Catholic Church. Brecht’s dramatisation of the battle between belief and reason considers whether proof matters when it inspires dissent. Joe Wright catapults Life of Galileo into the Young Vic’s Main House auditorium as you’ve never seen it before with design by Lizzie Clachan and video design by 59 Productions.

Opened May-June 2017

The Young Vic, London

Stunning projections turn the theatre into a planetarium
A genuinely exhilarating bit of staging – enhanced by 59 Productions’s stunning cosmic projections and Tom Rowlands’s pulsating score. [..] This is a trip, and a good one at that.
59 Productions – the mesmeric projection crew currently dazzling audiences at the Lyric Hammersmith’s City of Glass – have outshone themselves here, with a domed-ceiling that shifts from dance club to duomo, from panopticon to planetarium. Its depth and the extent to which it dominates the visual field means that a survey of the moons of Jupiter gives the viewer a thrilling sense of motion, while an examination of sunspots merges with screaming bass to approach the Burkean sublime.
The projections [..] including the moon, Jupiter and spectacular sun spots – might have overwhelmed the play, providing instead a cross between a planetarium and Disneyland, but gimmickry is avoided and the effects judiciously controlled. Tom Rowlands, one half of The Chemical Brothers, contributes music which often uncannily matches the excitement of the visual space sequences
Wonder-inducing star-fields fit to make Professor Brian Cox go giddy
He [Brendan Cowell] hurtles round the room, exhorting us to think, to wonder, to gaze in awe at the canopy of stars projected (by 59 Productions) above us on a huge planetarium-like disc: a majestical roof fretted with golden fire.
Meanwhile, that dome offers an ever-changing succession of variously beautiful and extraordinary projected images, courtesy of 59 Productions, a creative company who are exerting an increasing influence on London theatre productions, with their work also recently also dominating the design of An American in Paris and the astonishing City of Glass at Lyric Hammersmith.
Over the inner circle in Lizzie Clachan's design is a domed screen that becomes many things but primarily a planetarium of astounding (sometimes 3D) beauty, thanks to the wondrous efforts of projection designers 59 Productions.
A dazzling planetarium design
59 Productions have worked on this production to make some absolutely stunning visuals. The auditorium becomes almost like a planetarium, as the night sky, the Sun, and many other things besides are projected onto the ceiling. The very last sequence, in particular, is breathtaking.
He [Joe Wright] adds to traditional methods of storytelling, state of the art projections from 59 Productions that turn the circular disc into a planetarium and project space over our heads, planets spinning dizzyingly into view like huge, exploding flowers. Add music by Tom Rowlands (one half of The Chemical Brothers) and you have all the ingredients of a wonderful extravaganza
The set by Lizzie Clachan is never boring, the real world, symbolised by makeshift scaffolding and prop oddities, contrasting brilliantly with the wonder above (projections are the work of 59 Productions). Look up in awe. You have to love the way this production keeps on reaching for the stars.


Produced by
The Young Vic

Written by
Bertolt Brecht

Translation by
John Willett

Directed by
Joe Wright

Set Design
Lizzie Clachan

59 Productions

Tom Rowlands

Light Design
Jon Clark

Sound Design
Tom Gibbons

Puppet Direction
Sarah Wright

Sarah Tipple

Movement Direction
Javier de Frutos

Producer (for Young Vic)
Daisy Heath

59 Team

Project Director
Lysander Ashton

Senior Video Designer
Nick Corrigan

Tommy Lexen

Line Producer
Hannah Fasching

Assistant Designer
Dale Croft

D3 Programmers
Rowan Pitts
Scott Millar

Marco Sandeman
Jamie Bakewell

Doug Walker

Video Technician
Maximilien Spielbichler

Technical Assistant
Iain Syme