The accomplishments of women in the sciences were frequently ignored in previous centuries. That didn’t stop Henrietta Leavitt from reaching for the stars—literally. Starting Nov. 8, the School of Theatre will perform “Silent Sky,” a re-enactment of scenes from Leavitt’s life.
The production is based on the life of the twentieth-century female astronomer who worked at Harvard Observatory under a patriarchal academic system. Atlanta-based playwright Lauren Gunderson created “Silent Sky” to illuminate the darkness of gender roles around the time of industrialization. Gunderson is currently the most-produced playwright of the 2017-18 season according to American Theatre.
Theatre performance major Emily Smith is playing Henrietta, the lead role. When Smith was doing a preliminary read-through of “Silent Sky,” she immediately saw elements of Henrietta that aligned with her.
“Henrietta is full of spunk,” said Smith. “She is never satisfied with what her life is and always wants it to be so much more.”
Smith has incorporated her role Henrietta as part of her senior project. She is researching the story behind the acting. While the play is entertaining, Smith believes that it portrays important themes and messages to the audience.
“This show really draws attention to big issues that we often ignore,” said Smith. “It’s a story that needs to be told.”
“Silent Sky” will be performed in NGU's Billingsley Theatre. Show times are Nov. 8-10 and Nov. 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online, www.ngu.edu/theatre-season, or by contacting the School of Theatre Box Office, at 864-977-7085.