Review: Silent Sky

“Silent Sky” by Theatre in the Round Players was a tribute to some of the unsung female heroes in science and the importance of recognizing their contributions. The thoughtful play by Lauren Gunderson tells the story of Henrietta Leavitt, an astronomer whose groundbreaking work at the Harvard College Observatory in the early 20th century was crucial in advancing our understanding of the universe. Set against the unique backdrop of a round stage, the production offered an intimate glimpse into the challenges and triumphs faced by women in science during that era, bringing a human touch to a story that is as much about the stars as it is about the spirit of determination.

Theatre in the Round did an excellent job with a small cast, minimal scenery, and limited costumes, props and special effects to deliver on the story. It was a credit to the actors that you could so quickly become engrossed in the story. The portrayal of Henrietta Leavitt was compelling, capturing her unwavering dedication to her work in the face of societal and professional obstacles. The chemistry among the cast members was enjoyable, showing the many ways women create community and empower one another. I particularly enjoyed Rachel Postle’s portrayal of Annie.

“Silent Sky” made effective use of the theatre’s round setting to engage the audience, creating a sense of closeness. The set design was cleverly adapted to the space, using minimalistic elements to suggest rather than replicate the early 20th-century observatory and the vast night sky, a reminder of the vastness of the universe compared to the human struggle for recognition and equality.

I would have loved to have brought my 10-year-old daughter who dreams of being an astrophysicist. In fact, I may attempt to bring her entire Girl Scout troop to see this beautiful tribute to the stars and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding them. What a powerful story to share with young women—the celebration of human curiosity, the communities of support we need, and the resilience and drive in all of us to explore the unknown.

Silent Sky is at the Theatre in the Round through March 17, 2024.