Galileo – Not at all verbatim.

These days (or maybe in the days just passing) there is a desire for truth and/or authenticity that gets worked out in verbatim theatre (also dance) - at the same time as these claims there’s backlash when we find out someone was lying and historical accuracy seems important. David Hare has written a nice piece at the Guardian about some of these things.What than to do with Galileo? The correspondence between historical truth (such as we know it) and Brechts’ play is spotty. The timeline is off, the relationship with his daughter is misrepresented – as is his relationship with the Catholic faith and the terms of his imprisonment. As opposed to a bio-play, Galileo is a parable based on a historic character. It can’t let the history get in way of the intent. What the play wants is different. And I support this. The authenticity claims of verbatim ring false for me and adherence to historical facts doesn't map on to the value of a work.

But is there any responsibility to tell the audience this?

Attending a play entitled Life of Galileo, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that what happens in the play also happened to the historical figure. I don’t want to apologize or even imply the play is weakened by its inaccuracies (since it’s strengthened,) but there is a part of me that worries for the reputation of Virginia.

Thoughts on ways of dealing with this?