TELLURIDE – Third- through sixth-grade students at the Telluride Mountain School will stage a holiday show, Starry Messenger, tonight in the Great Room at the school, at Lawson Hill.
The show is a tradition, says Sally Davis, who has scripted and directed it over the years, alongside Ramona Gaylord. “It’s been called Earth Moves and Galileo,” says Davis of the show, which although it changes every year, to capitalize on the performers’ various skill-sets, always tells the story of Galileo, the sixteenth century physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution (and whose achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism).
Galileo's championing of Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime. The geocentric view had been dominant since the time of Aristotle, and the controversy engendered by Galileo's presentation of heliocentrism as proven fact resulted in the Catholic Church's prohibiting its advocacy, because it was contrary to the literal meaning of Scripture. Galileo was eventually forced to recant his heliocentrism and spent the last years of his life under house arrest on orders of the Roman Inquisition.
“There are lots of characters,” says Davis, from the Roman senators and inquisitors to the talk show host, Melvin Quark, “who interviews Aurora Borealis and Carl Sagan.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” she says, performed in a room outfitter with parachutes and theater lighting and music. Sol Chase, who plays Galileo, plays the mandolin; Davis will play the flute, and “there’s a rapping Supernova who’s white-hot,” played by Miles Galbo.
“We’re so lucky to be up here living in a natural observatory,” says Davis, when “half the world doesn’t see stars.
“The Galileo story is a beautiful thing,” she goes on. “The whole idea of people over the years looking up at the sky – maybe the stars are what sparked human consciousness, and got people wondering who and where we are, and what it’s all about.”
Showtime is Thursday, Dec. 11, at 5:30 p.m.; admission is free. For more information, call 728-1969.