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A theater review of ‘Silent Sky’

Locations: News Published

Sopris Theatre Company (STC) of Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus, premiered their most recent production, “Silent Sky,” by Lauren Gunderson on Feb. 11. 

“Silent Sky” is based on a true story and the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt, a 19th-century astronomer whose contributions guided her field in understanding the measurement of distance in outer-space. The story follows Henrietta, played by Bostyn Elswick, and her sister Margaret (Hattie Resnsberry) as they navigate life’s adventures.

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Along with Peter Shaw (Joshua Adamson), an awkward yet hopeful apprentice of Harvard Observatory Director Edward Pickering (who does not appear in the show), and Leavitt’s colleagues Williamina Flemming (Julia Whalen), and Annie Cannon (Lisa Deegan Langer), Henrietta discovers a correlation between luminosity and a period of cepheid variables; knowledge which manifested the first standard to measure the distance of galaxies.   

On opening night, there was an intimate and engaged audience.  The show went off without a hitch and was an impressive performance. From the first scene, I was absolutely hooked. 

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The creative ways in which the play shows the passing of time was subtle and kept the audience’s attention. While the show is a period piece, each character was portrayed as incredibly complex individuals.  

It was refreshing to see women portrayed as some of the most brilliant minds in history. Not only for having their stories told and credit given where it is due, but also for being portrayed by these actors as what they were: human. Each female character was portrayed as resilient, curious, intelligent, humorous, and playful. This, along with the wonderful performance by Adamson as Peter Shaw, made for a very wonderful show. 

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“Silent Sky” is a perfect mix of hilarity, adventure, inspiration, romance, with just enough tragedy sprinkled between the characters to keep the viewers on their toes. 

The production conveyed poetic and mind-stretching concepts of love, life, family,  space, and time. The way in which Henrietta described the sky and her work romanticized the life she lived and perfectly encapsulated the same wonder that anyone, at one point or another, has had when looking up to the stars at night. 

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Unlike other stories that explore the wonders and the questions of the universe, this show does not tap into existentialism. The show is not a story of fear of the unknown, but a beautiful one about what happens when someone is willing to jump headfirst, not only into their passions and dreams, but into the unknown in order to find answers within it. 

The actors in this production wonderfully capture the spirit of each of these incredible, yet underrepresented and overlooked, figures from history.

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The two-act performance is directed by Wendy Tennis and has a run time of roughly 90 minutes, including a brief intermission. The show will run Feb.18 and 19, 25 and 26, at 7:00 p.m., with matinees on Feb. 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Each production will simultaneously be live-streamed for folks to enjoy from home.  Post-show conversations will be held on Feb. 20 and 27. 

STC requires masks for live performances. For in-person or live-streamed ticket options visit, www.bit.ly/STCsilentsky 

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Tags: #Colorado Mountain College #Lauren Gunderson #Silent Sky #Sopris Theatre Company
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