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The Kepler Story

Stretching the boundaries of site-specific work and new technology, The Kepler Story tells the remarkable tale of Kepler’s life and his groundbreaking discoveries. The Kepler Story is written and directed by Motion Institute’s Artistic Director Nina Wise and was originally performed by award-winning screen and stage actor Norbert Weisser (Schindler’s List, Pollock, Midnight Express). 



The piece integrates spectacular visuals developed by the Morrison Planetarium Visualization Studio, haunting music by avant cellist Zoë Keating, and sound design by multiple Emmy Award-winner Christopher Hedge. The narrative revolves around Kepler’s unique capacity to integrate a worldview steeped in mysticism with a rigorous scientific perspective based on observation and experimentation. The story of Kepler’s life, including his discovery of the three laws of planetary motion (which removed Earth once and for all from its anthropocentric position at the center of the Universe), took an even more dramatic turn when his mother was arrested for witchcraft and Kepler was forced to defend her. On the way to her trial, reading Galileo’s father’s book on harmony, Kepler experienced one of his greatest epiphanies — that the Universe itself is harmonious and singing. History, religion, passion, and science intersect in this remarkable individual’s life.


“My work in the planetarium field focuses on the creation of ‘narrative journeys,’ virtual voyages in immersive environments that place audiences at the center of the storytelling,” says Wyatt, Director of Morrison Planetarium. “Kepler’s story has resonated with me since childhood. The intellectual, spiritual, and social transformations in his work connect people on a variety of levels. The fulldome medium with its immersive visuals has remarkable potential to integrate an artful approach toward the history of science with pioneering visualization.”


The Kepler Project was presented in a pilot run at Morrison Planetarium in November 2011 where it played to audiences of over a thousand Bay Area residents and visitors. Astrophysicist Jill Tarter, then Executive Director of SETI, wrote: “I was riveted! I am a scientist, working as a member of the Kepler Mission Science, so Kepler (the scientist) is someone with whom I am quite familiar. However, I was unfamiliar with Kepler the man, the victim of religious persecution, the husband, and the denizen of the late 16th and early 17th century. During the performance, with minimal stage props and glorious digital dome effects, I became intimate with that remarkable human. I feel lucky to have experienced the extraordinary power of the work firsthand.”


Who We Are/Key Project Personnel


Nina Wise (415) 459-3766 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jennifer Downey (510) 435-1465 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Kepler Story Website:

Motion Institute Website:

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