A Blazing “Galileo’s Torch” at Castleton

James Reston, internationally famous author and historian, has transformed his best selling biography Galileo: A Life into a mesmerizing multi-faceted and  multi-media play. Castleton in Performance will stage the innovative production on Friday, July 28, at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, July 29, at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, July 30, at 5:00 p.m.

For more than 400 years the story of Renaissance astronomer Galileo Galilei has intrigued and inspired the world. As the founder of modern science and the embodiment of the conflict between science and faith, he remains one of the most fascinating and tragic of historical figures. Featuring John Lescault as Galileo and Judge David Tatel as the Grand Inquisitor, the performances are directed by Castleton CEO and Artistic Director Dietlinde Maazel. Music from the Renaissance period will be performed by Castleton favorites Linn Barnes and Allison.

“Galileo’s Torch” is about one of the great tragedies of history,” says  Reston “The play portrays the crushing of the great scientist for advocating the Copernican theory of the universe in contradiction of Roman Catholic geocentric dogma.”

Reston made an iconic discovery while in Rome doing research for the biography. Aware that a terrible mistake had been made in the vilification of Galileo, Pope John Paul II released a great mass of documents related to the trial. Delving into the treasure trove, Reston suddenly realized that what he was looking at was the actual transcript of the four sessions of the trial, written down at the time it took place and recording the interrogation of Galileo by the Grand Inquisitor.  What was that like? “Thrilling,” says Reston. “Gob smacking. Absolutely amazing. And I realized immediately how overwhelmingly theatrical the material was.”

“It is a searing psychodrama,” says Reston, “I always wanted to see that amazing interrogation brought to life on the stage. The Castleton production affords me another splendid opportunity to explore the possibilities of the drama played out centuries ago,”

The Castleton Theater, like Reston’s Wolf Trap, is one of the most beautiful performing venues in the world. In 1997,Dietelinde and her husband, Maestro Lorin Maazel, converted the once-overlooked chicken house into a spectacular setting for the performing arts.

Castleton is ideally suited for a weekend trip and a variety of accommodations are available on the idyllic grounds of Castleton Farms. Cottage and home rates begin at $100/night and include access to amenities such as the spa (large heated lap pool, Turkish steam room, Finnish sauna), bowling alley, petting zoo, six miles of hiking trails, and tennis courts. To inquire about booking, please contact Connie Payne at 540.577.8820 or castletonfarmretreat@gmail.com.

Tickets for this CiP concert range in price from $20.00 to $40.00 The performances will be held in the Theatre House at Castleton (663 Castleton View Road, Castleton, Virginia.), an intimate, state-of-the-art 140-seat proscenium theatre. Call 703.489.8704 for more information and visit www.CastletonFestival.org to purchase tickets.


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