Silent Sky, a new play from Lauren Gunderson, opens April 15 at the Know Theatre. Silent Sky follows protagonist Henrietta Leavitt, a “computer” hired by Harvard Observatory to catalog stars, along with her female colleagues and a discovery that changed our understanding of the universe.
Gunderson’s work has been prolific in Cincinnati this theater season: in February 2016, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park produced her comedy The Revolutionists, and the Know Theatre itself produced Gunderson’s Toil and Trouble in 2013.
We grabbed a moment of Know Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director Tamara Winters’ time — she’s pulling double duty as the director of Silent Sky and they’re in the midst of final rehearsals — and she told us why the Know is producing this play, why it’s important and how it’s relevant for every one of us today.
“Silent Sky is not only a beautiful drama (and surprisingly funny!), but it's also a story we need, right now. We have a news cycle relentlessly pushing the most negative and narcissistic aspects of our culture, 24 hours a day.
"But with Silent Sky," Winters added. "I get to give you a story about wonder. About possibility. About the very best angels of our nature. About what we can all be when we look for something bigger than ourselves.
"Even better? It's a true story. Henrietta Leavitt really was hired to be a human ‘computer’ at the Harvard Observatory in the early 20th Century. She really was prohibited from using Harvard's telescope and simply expected to perform calculations for the male astronomers. And her brilliant mind really did discover a pattern in the data about the stars she was cataloging, that, to this day, is our standard for measuring stellar distances."
Winters calls "Silent Sky's" cast one of the finest ever assembled on Know's stage. Maggie Lou Rader, Miranda McGee, Justin McCombs, Regina Pugh and Annie Fitzpatrick will tell the true story that shines a light on what we can be.
(All shots by Daniel R. Winters Photography, used by permission.)
"Cincinnati, I hope you’ll come out to see this one and remind yourselves just what is possible when we let wonder into our hearts," WInters said.
Expansive, innovative works that resonate with the whole community and beyond?
That’s the Ripple Effect. That’s ArtsWave in Action.
SILENT SKY opens April 15 and runs through May 14. Tickets are available at knowtheatre.com.