The Kepler Story

February 10, 2016 – Fiske Planetarium is offering a unique opportunity for families and individuals to experience the interconnected nature of the universe and Earth’s environment in an engulfing visual, stage, and musical presentation that includes a rare new score by award-winning cellist and composer Zoë Keating. San Francisco’s world-renown Motion Institute presents six upcoming performances of The Kepler Story at the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado in Boulder on April 1–3 and 8–10, 2016.

Highlighting 17th Century astronomer Johannes Kepler’s vision of the universe as an interconnected whole, The Kepler Story, an historical theater piece, casts light on issues endemic to modern science and the nature of controversial discoveries that change the way reality is perceived. The Kepler Story draws analogies between Kepler’s life and present day. Emphasizing the wisdom that the universe is a dynamic system of interrelating parts, it reminds audiences they have the capacity to make changes to our world in these uncertain times of climate distress and economic challenges.

Johannes Kepler, 17th Century mathematician, visionary and astronomer best known for his discovery of the three laws of planetary motion, which finally removed Earth as the center of the Universe and later influenced Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation, was a key figure in the 17th century Scientific Revolution. A contemporary of Galileo, Kepler collaborated with him on telescopic optics, and publicly endorsed Galileo to bolster the credibility of his controversial observations.

Kepler’s life took a dramatic turn when his mother was arrested for witchcraft and it fell upon him to legally defend her. This ordeal, as well as Galileo’s father’s book on harmony, which he read on the way to her trial, led Kepler to experience one of his greatest epiphanies — that the Universe itself is harmonious.

The Kepler Story is a new form of theater that combines live performance with full-dome visuals to create an exciting, provocative and visceral experience. Using new projection technology that engulfs the viewer, and paired with haunting sound from the evocative score by world famous avant cellist Zoë Keating and an original script written and performed by multi-award-winning performance artist Nina Wise, the work transports audiences into a riveting, mind-bending experience of the life and groundbreaking discoveries of Johannes Kepler. Directed by Molly Noble, the piece also includes sound design by Emmy Award winner Christopher Hedge.

Fiske Planetarium, University of Colorado, Boulder, is one of the few venues in the world developing programs for fulldome theaters and DigitalSky-equipped domes in particular, which make use of state-of-the-art, real-time technology to create immersive graphics tailored to individual performances. Originally developed in collaboration with California Academy of Sciences, The Kepler Story premiered in San Francisco at the world renowned Morrison Planetarium in October 2013 and played to sold-out audiences. The piece is being further developed with support from the Fiske Planetarium team.

The Kepler Story is produced by Motion Institute, a Bay Area nonprofit theater production company that offers audiences a singular view of current issues presented in ways that are contemporary, innovative and embedded in the narratives of their own lives.

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