Review “Galileo’s Daughter” (Remy Bumppo): A Star’s Relationship with His Daughter

Monday, April 24, 2023 Permalink 0

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of GALILEO’S DAUGHTER. 

Women centuries apart explore the impact of Galileo on their lives. This past and present retrospective is the search for purpose by two very different people. Playwright Jessica Dickey intertwines 16th and 21st century stories. She personalizes it by making herself a character in the more current timeline. A trauma sends Dickey aka ‘writer’ (played by Linda Gillum) in pursuit of the elusive letters of Galileo’s daughter. In the secondary story, Marie Celeste (played by Emily Bosco) intellectually and spiritually debates her father’s (played by Chike Johnson) scientific discoveries.    

Dickey’s choice to include herself in the storytelling blurs the reality. Gillum makes the standard theatre announcements and then introduces herself as the playwright. She explains this is her story and takes a seat on the sidelines. The play begins with Bosco and Johnson conversing about the stars, dad’s controversial theories and the necessity of the daughter joining a convent. The peek into Galileo’s life, both personally and professionally, engages especially given the church’s influence in that time period. Gillum then walks to center stage and begins narrating the other storyline. She has arrived in Italy on a quest to find Galileo’s daughter’s letters. Since she doesn’t speak the language, her awkward encounters with Johnson provides for some hilarity.     

Director Marti Lyons paces this tight as she pivots back and forth from past to present. Lyons masterfully utilizes Designer John Boesche’s projections to showcase Italy, Galileo’s inventions and the night sky. On Scenic Designer Yeaji Kim’s stucco-like frame, Boesche simulates a stroll through an Italian neighborhood. Later, he turns Kim’s backdrop into a museum with images of Galileo’s work. Lyons seamlessly transitions from historical to modern days with a shift of a panel and a costume tweak. Johnson, in particular, supports the rhythm as he effortlessly morphs into multiple distinct characters.       

GALILEO’S DAUGHTER is like “Eat, Love, Pray….Learn” where a woman’s journey of self discovery takes a scientific turn. The playwright leans a little more into autobiographical than the historic fiction. At times, Dickey’s chronicling her own experience overshadows the famous father and daughter’s unusual relationship. She seems to emphasize the process of finding the letters over the actual content of the letters. Still, the show is an enjoyable intro into Galileo and his family.                  

Running Time: Eighty minutes with no intermission

At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont

Written by Jessica Dickey

Directed by Marti Lyons

Performances are:

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 2:30pm 

Sundays at 2:30pm

April 22nd and 29th at 2:30pm

Thru May 14th

For more information or tickets

Production photos by Jose Uribe / Nomee Photography

For more Chicago theatre information and reviews, please visit Theatre in Chicago

Comments are closed.