“Revolution of the Celestial Bodies” induces a reflection about our position in the universe. It goes back a few centuries to the time we set ourselves in the centre of the world with all the other celestial bodies then known circling around us. A position defended at the time by the Catholic Church, interested in the privileged place that this cosmological vision of the universe placed us, in the centre of God’s attention.
Ptolemy, Copernicus and Galileo traverse with questioning thoughts the few meters of their study, and reveal to us the deepness of their doubts which go beyond the scope of science. These are philosophical, religious, social, political and personal questions related to their cosmological.
In the play, Ptolemy finds a mathematical justification for the central position of the Earth in the centre of the universe, as stated by Aristotle, and falls asleep satisfied with his conquer. It’s a 14 centuries sleep with the Earth standing still in the centre.
The fight between the conservative and the free spirits troubles the scientist’s sleep and he wakes in the dawn, tormented, and already as Copernicus. He fights an inner battle between his religious and his scientific beliefs, which demanded the Sun in the centre of the world and the Earth revolving around it. Copernicus ends up placing the sun in the centre and falls asleep exhausted from the battle.
Wakes up as Galileo. The morning is rising. And the scientific and experimental spirit awakens. His telescope pointed at the sky presents new proofs that shatter the geocentric ideas still very present in the XVIIth century and profoundly connected to the Holy Scriptures. The scientist’s fight changes from an inner one to an outer one, and ends with his sacrifice. Galileo is condemned by the Holy Office, accused of being heretic for defending the heliocentric system.
Based upon the lives of these three men, this play traces the evolutions of cosmology and the evolution of man’s view of the world and himself, and joins together theatre and science.
It premiered in December 2001 in Coimbra, in the attic of the Sacadura Botte Palace, headquarters of the Museu Nacional da Ciência e da Técnica, and was on stage from the 10th to the 15th of that month. And, from July 23rd to August 2nd, 2003, the remake of this show was again presented in the attic of the museum’s headquarters, and on October 4th it was performed at the Pavilhão do Conhecimento, in Lisbon, in the scope of the Physics On Stage Festival.