Jefferson City, MO 70° View Live Radar Sun H 82° L 67° Mon H 87° L 70° Tue H 85° L 68° Weather Sponsored By:

'Silent Sky' reflects on female astronomer's real-life scientific accomplishments

'Silent Sky' reflects on female astronomer's real-life scientific accomplishments

March 14th, 2019 by Sally Ince in Life & Entertainment

Rich Burdge, playing Peter Shaw, hands a slide to Lainie Vansant, playing as astronomer Henrietta Leavitt Wednesday March 12, 2019 during a dress rehearsal for "Silent Sky" at Scene Once Theatre in Jefferson City.

Photo by Sally Ince /News Tribune.

A fascinating true story of friendship, romance and overwhelming accomplishment, Scene One Theatre will present "Silent Sky," beginning Wednesday.

The production stars Henrietta Leavitt, a small town girl who discovers groundbreaking information while working at the Harvard observatory.

"It really had an affect on the development of our understanding of the universe, and so I thought it was an important story to tell," director Mark Miles said.

The story was written by popular playwright Lauren Gunderson who published the production with Dramatists Play Service Inc. in 2015.

"I read 'Silent Sky' and fell in love with it almost immediately," Miles said. "I thought it was a wonderful story about forgotten women who made an important contribution to our society and their stories haven't been told. This was an opportunity to tell people about the contributions that Henrietta Leavitt made and some of the other women at the Harvard observatory at the turn of the century."

Having become a 19th-century astronomer, Henrietta must also overcome inherent prejudice against women's acceptance in the workplace during a time of scientific discoveries, when women's ideas were dismissed.

"It's a good story for Women's History Month, as well," Miles added.

With only a five-member cast, the play illustrates how Henrietta and her colleagues not only overcome social status but also used telescope photographs to identify and track our nearest stars, document their characteristics resulting in the develop an archive that astronomers still used today.

"This probably sounds more technical and obscure than it actually is in the play, but I think an audience who's not familiar with astronomy would still find the story easy to follow and fascinating," Miles said. "Anyone who has gone out, looked up at the night sky in the winter months to see the canopy of stars there's just an attraction that draws people to that, and I think that sense of mystery and wonderment is something that underlies a lot of the play."

Performances of "Silent Sky" are Wednesday, March 22-23 and 28-30. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and tickets will cost $15, with opening night tickets at $10. Performances will be at the new Scene One Theatre location at 623 Ohio St.

For more information, call 573-635-6713, email sottickets@gmail.com or visit sceneontheatre.com.