‘Silent Sky’ at Falcon Theatre Inspiring
Review by Swapna Mirashi
‘Silent Sky’ at Falcon Theatre KY is 90 minutes of inspiration, peppered with witty dialogues in a little gem of a theatre. Based on the true story of the early 20th century astronomer (‘with a capital A’) Henrietta Leavitt, ‘Silent Sky’ (written by Lauren Gunderson) is a captivating blend of science, relationships, romance and one woman’s journey to answer her calling. The no-intermission play that was in production for two years due to the pandemic opened on Friday with the same cast – Ted Weil, Artistic Director proudly informed the audience in his opening address. Performances start at 8:00 PM at Falcon Theatre on April 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16, 2022.
Henrietta Leavitt (Jordan Trovillion), a pastor’s daughter, is passionate about astronomy. But the period is the 1900s. Societal norms dictate women a domesticated life. At Harvard Observatory too, where Henrietta hopes to work on her ideas, she is limited to only computing data – on an all women team of ‘computers’ for scientific endeavors of their male ‘superiors’. They are even barred from access to the telescope in the observatory. Eventually Henrietta Leavitt’s discoveries led to extraordinary scientific progress (including, as we will know during the play, the Hubble Telescope) without the credit or recognition she deserved in male-dominated early 20th century science. But this is not a story of exploitation, but of women knowing their worth fully in a society yet to recognize it. It is a story of family and women at work coming together to inspire and support each other. Henrietta’s sister Margaret (Hannah Gregory) who implores her to be ‘normal’ also helps her follow her curious passion. The friendly banter and encouraging working relationship of the three women in Harvard Observatory – Annie Cannon (Tara Williams) and Williamina Fleming (Martha Slater) shows what true feminism looks like in real life – no in-your-face feminist sloganeering here.
Falcon’s production of this delightful play, directed by Bridget Leak, is intimate and simple. It invites you into the story and keeps you there. All actors are brilliant in their speech – doing justice to the script’s humor and tender moments alike. The two senior women are a joy to watch on stage. They have some fun lines and they deliver them with a punch. Their relationship parallels that of Leavitt sisters – banter and fondness in good proportion. The only male member of the cast, Nathan Tubbs holds his own as the sincere, goofy, romantic apprentice Peter Shaw who ‘does the rounds’ of the office. The technical team (Stage Manager — Katie Ruwe, Scenic Design — Sarah Beth Hall, Lighting Design — Tyler Gabbard, Sound Design — Trey Tatum) supports the cast ably and silently. The dance of starry lights to Margaret’s music makes a lovely sight.
An inspiring, beautiful play for the entire family, ‘Silent Sky’ will appeal to STEM, non-STEM, kids, parents, grandparents, work colleagues, friends. I watched the opening performance with my 14-year old daughter and we shared several chuckles, joyful glances and a happy experience.
At Falcon Theatre on April 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16, 2022. Performances start at 8:00 PM. Don’t forget your mask and vaccination card/ negative COVID test result.
Swapna Mirashi is a published writer of over 20 years. She has been actively involved in theater (expat – Marathi language and children’s) as an actor and director since 2014.