French Spring, an annual month-long festival that celebrates French culture in Ukraine, has started at Kyiv’s Sofiiska Square on April 1. But instead of France, thousands of visitors of the opening night were taken to… space.
“Galileo,” a show by French circus theater group Deus Ex Machina tells a story of the Italian astronomer and scientist Galileo Galilei and his journey to exploring and supporting the Heliocentric theory, which rightfully says that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun, instead of the other way round.
Galileo devoted his entire lifetime to this and other astronomical observations, including a telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (one of them was named after him) and the invention of an improved military compass. But the outstanding astronomer, who is now proclaimed as the “father of observational astronomy”, was met with criticism and controversy back in the 16-17th centuries. He was accused of heresy and sentenced to life imprisonment, later reduced to a permanent house arrest.
During the Kyiv show a solar system, in the face of a large metal sphere was suspended in the air, from the top of which the actor playing Galileo was talking through his discoveries. The sphere was constantly moving up and down and rotating, while Galileo and other actors, who portrayed his friends and assistants, as well as stars and planets in some of the episodes, swayed from it and performed different acrobatic dance moves. An array of light acts accompanied the show in the form of fireworks and flashlights.
Apart from Galileo’s scientific research, the 50-minute-long “Galileo” show shed a light on the astronomer’s personal life with a touching partner performance by the actor playing Galileo and actress, who supposedly portrayed Marina Gamba, the mother of Galileo’s three children. The actors swung from the metallic sphere while performing a touching dance routine. The love story was accompanied by an emotional French song.
The show ended with fireworks emerging from the metallic sphere while the actors remained swinging down from it and throwing different shapes.
Kyiv public seemed hugely entertained and impressed by the spectacle, clapping and cheering all the way throughout it.
To see what else is on the program of the French Spring festival in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities please follow this link.