• Brecht to the future
Veteran director David Wheeler made an inventive bare-bones pageant of THE LIFE OF GALILEO for Underground Railway Theater, letting us see that Bertolt Brecht's play, written a few years before Hiroshima, was about more than a 17th-century struggle between intelligent inquiry and a Church with its head up its vestments. David Fichter contributed classically inspired murals, and Richard McElvain was an energetic, multi-faceted, even mischievous and epicurean Galileo. The giant Galileo puppet with drapery arms wielding a giant pencil didn't do a half-bad job either.
• Kermit does Kobe
Among the year's more charming surprises was Company One's Boston premiere of AFTER THE QUAKE, Frank Galati's piquant amalgam of two stories from Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's collection of the same name — which, inspired by the collective trauma of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, suggests that our best defense against terror may be imagination. Shawn LaCount's winsome production was wittily augmented by Arshan Gailus's music (performed live on violin and bass clarinet), and by Michael Tow's squatting and darting amphibian turn as a six-foot superhero who happens to be a frog.
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