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The Trials of Galileo

International Tour
March 2014 - Dec 2020
Galileo

The Trials of Galileo

By Nic Young
Starring Tim Hardy

The first flowering of scientific truth trampled by the bully church.

For information about our accompanying education programme, click here.

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equivalent: Fringe Review
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four stars The Public Reviews
four stars British Theatre Guide

four stars Broadway Baby
four stars Fringefan.info
four stars Three Weeks

Line

Interview with Paul Levy



TRANSCRIBED RADIO INTERVIEW:

PAUL: I'm here sitting on the steps outside the New Town Theatre on the exciting day zero because it begins really tomorrow even though that's not the official first day for Fringe... and it's um Max Lewentel?

MAX: Lewendel. Yes.

PAUL: Lewendel. And Tim Hardy who's in the Trials of Gallileo. And we reviewed this so it's nice to actually do an interview as well. Is this back on the Fringe, this show?

TIM: I came here about 5 years ago with it. But since then it's changed, a lot. Max has come on board as the new producer. And it's got new music new lighting. It's a bit
shorter. It's just got better.

PAUL: How do you let go of an old version and take on the new?

TIM: When it goes so much better it's easy. I mean it was fine before but we've just... it takes a while to get to get rid of the lines that you had before, that's quite true. But once you've made them join and done it a few times then it's actually not difficult at all and theatre is nothing if it's not live theatre. I've been in long runs and good directors turn up and - as I call it when I direct - "Cut out the improvements", and regularly you know. Because theatre is live ,actors change and you need to make sure you're staying within the parameters of the story.

PAUL: You talk about actors changing and also people change into actors. Because this smiling man is not the man I see on the poster. So how do you claim that role?

TIM: Oh, just simply by - you know - investing in the words, in the lines. I think it's a wonderful script. I didn't write it. Nic Young wrote it. And I think it's a lovely piece of writing. It's been inside me now for 7 years. I mean very on and off you know. We do plenty of other work besides this. But what's lovely about this is I'm going to get the to
chance to do it 25 times in a row rather than maybe 2 or 3 performances. And then you just get hold of it by the experience of doing it to an audience which of course teaches
you so much.

PAUL: What have you learnt about Galileo playing the part.

TIM: Um, well, this Galileo that Nic wrote - and he wrote it with me in mind -he said to me "don't think you're playing one of the great heroic heroes of history. You are in a way, but you're also playing a very stubborn nerd who was probably a genius at what he did know, but quite childlike and innocent at everything else" which is what led to his tragedy really. What he never understood, even though the Pope tried to explain it, is that it wasn't a question of proof, it was a question of politics, which he never understood.

PAUL: He won't be the first person to have suffered that I guess. And it's still going on today isn't it. I mean. You've got Rupert Sheldrake's, you know, banned TED talk and so on. We've not learnt anything have we?

TIM: I think not. when we first did this play we thought it was a very interesting, good play, about an interesting character. It's become more and more relevant in the seven years I've been doing it. And particularly in America where I've done it a lot. You know The religious muscle is very strong there. And if you do this play in the Bible belt of America
you'd better make sure that your facts are right because otherwise they'll be down on you.

PAUL: So, Max, how do you take a play that's already got stars all over the posters and change it?

MAX: Well, I like to think we didn't really change it as much as just shine a new, shine a new light on it. Because what was there was was great. And that was one of the big challenges to it. Not cutting out too many of the improvements, but just getting a specific music score to it so rather than found music that is, ok, works well, let's actually get something really composed to the action, get something composed to what the story is going by. A composer who knows what it is. Let's get an actual cellist in to record it. Lets do the same thing with the light. I'm not as fluid with the language of, of lights. But the same kind of idea with the lights, with the costumes, and with the set, everything. Let's redo everything. Let's give Tim a chance to perform in a more variety of spaces and breathe some different life into it and it's just really refreshing to me to hear an actor just now say, "After seven years of doing a show I'm looking forward to 25 shows on a row." I've never heard an actor say that before. I think that's the main thing: just let him get on with keeping it fresh everyday.

PAUL: Youcan push me back on this but, um, that accent suggests you come from a small island off the coast of Ireland? And something that does happen well at the Fringe sometimes is a lot of people from that theatre world, and that theatre tradition come to English work and give it more of a directness and sharpen it.

MAX: Well yeah, I think I do tend to try and do that, I can't comment whether that's something I do more as an American than an English person would. But that's always
something I am looking to do. To frame things just right. Be crystal clear to the audience. More immediate. Right there, right now. More of a direct contact and relationship with the audience. That's always something I do and I hope that in some small way I've helped that in this show as well.

PAUL: Can you take me into one of your most challenging rehearsals and tell me what Id would see as a fly on the wall

TIM: Rehearsals, um, for this play do you mean?

PAUL: Or, any one you like!

TIM: Oh well! I think one of the most frightening times I've ever had was, my first big musical in the West End was the original production of Fiddler on the Roof, and I took over the part which was the one that has to do a lot of dancing. Because he steps across the rope and actually asks his girl, who eventually he marries, Hodel, to dance with him. And of course women weren't supposed to touch men. So I turn up for the first day's rehearsal and there is Jerome Robbins standing there. And I said "I can act and I can sing
but I'm a terrible mover". And he said "Don't worry. This show is about the kind of movement that peasants can do it's not Hollywood. And I will tell you what every step means. So it's not just a step but it has a meaning behind it. And it worked. But with the whole company there watching me rehearse with Jerome Robbins that was scary. The first time I ever ran through this, I've never done a one person show, and for obvious reasons an hour and 10 minutes on your own with no one to help is scary, because the brain is a strange thing, however much you prepare. So, the first time I ran this through, which was with an invited audience, I was really scared. And I still get scared. With all the preparation you never know what's going to happen. And tomorrow night will be scary like it always should be. But I think those two events are probably as scared as I've got.

PAUL: So, so are you alone with Galileo.

TIM: Absolutely. I play other parts. I play the Pope, I play the lawyer. But basically it's him and it's me and the audience. What I've learnt... When I first did it which was in America, I was so scared I rather talked at them. And it went OK, but I, I've learnt actually how to be more like a standup. Talk to the audience, involve them and not talk at them. And I think that's better.

PAUL: So the fourth wall is down. And that's quite a vulnerable place to be though isn't it?

TIM: Yes. Yes It is. And that's why it's scary. And it's very important to reinvent it every night. It's like telling a joke in a pub, if you tell it the same every time it will be a disaster. You really have to be aware of the people you're with on that particular night, and talk to them. This show has gone right through with maybe two laughs. Or it's been so full of laughs that it's put 5 minutes on the running time. Both is great but you just have to be aware which is which.

PAUL: Final question to Max. So, the day before everyone goes live, what are you restless about?

MAX: What am I restless about? Well one of the great things about this is that Tim just sets me at complete ease. I know that whatever happens, if anything goes wrong, Tim's going to carry it off like a pro and just make it sing. So I think what I'm restless about is let's get people in. And let's get people to see it. I want to do justice to the work that Tim is doing by getting people to come in and fill the house.

PAUL: Well this show came highly recommended from Fringe Review and it's back on the Fringe. So follow that advice. Thanks very much both of you.

MAX: Thank you.

TIM: Thank you.


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