Falling Bodies

Jonathan Levi, script and direction
Bruce Saylor, music
Gil Morgenstern, music direction and violin

"Dottore, back there, forced to choose between the truth and survival, how did you do it?"

"I canít remember.  Iím not sure I ever met the Truth..."

Nine Circles Chamber Theatreís latest project, entitled Falling Bodies, is a work for two actors, violin, flute and percussion, based on the lives of the Italian scientist-poets Galileo Galilei and Primo Levi.  The historical Galileo, a 17th-century Florentine called The Father of Modern Science by Albert Einstein, turned his telescope to the heavens and, perhaps like Icarus, came too near to the sun for the religious politics of his day.  Condemned by the Inquisition in Rome for his writings in support of the Copernican theory that the earth revolved around the sun, he was forced to spend his waning years under house arrest.  Primo Levi, who won honors as a chemistry student in Turin in the 1930’s, even under the anti-semitic racial laws of Italian Fascism, finished out his own days as the manager of a paint factory, his scientific progress interrupted by WWII and deportation to Auschwitz. 

Falling Bodies imagines these two persecuted, Italian scientists encountering one another in an indistinct present—at the Tower of Pisa, in a café watching a soccer match, before the Inquisition.  As the two wander, like Dante and Virgil and share scientific experiments and difficult memories, they are joined by a trio of musicians.  With words by Jonathan Levi (no relation!),
music by Bruce Saylor and music direction by violinist Gil Morgenstern, the five performers explore very current questions of faith and politics, science and art, combining the tools of theatre with the intimacy of chamber music, the language of science with the music of the spheres.

Staged Premiere
Reflections Series:

The Jewish Museum, Miami, FL, January 8, 2009
The Rubin Museum, New York City, January 11, 2009
An Appalachian Summer Festival, Boone, NC, July 6, 2009

Bill Camp (Galileo Galilei)
Kathleen McElfresh (Primo Levi)
Gil Morgenstern (violin)
Lauren Weiss (flute)
Yousif Sheronick (percussion)

Concert Performances:

La Certosa di San Giacomo di Capri, Italy
September 5 (in English) and 6 (in Italian)

Enrica Maria Modugno (Primo Levi)
Tony Nardi (Galileo Galilei)
Gil Morgenstern (violin)
Lauren Weiss (Flute)
Antonio Caggiano (Percussion)

An Appalachian Summer Festival, Boone,NC, USA
June 29, 2008

Kathleen McElfresh (Primo Levi)
Mickey Solis (Galileo Galilei)
Gil Morgenstern (violin)
Lauren Weiss (Flute)
Yousif Sheronick (Percussion)