“Silent Sky” is the second-to-last play in this season at Restless Artist’s Theatre, and I can confidently say each performance just gets better and better. “Silent Sky” is the true story of how astronomer Henrietta Leavitt paved the way for women in science and came up with her ground-breaking formula that led to the discovery of the universe.
The topic of the play was dense and scientific, but the explanation was done carefully and well. I was never confused about the star theories being discussed or the discovery that was made. Periodically, Henrietta would dumb down the science talk for her sister, Margaret Leavitt, which was a creative way to explain it to the audience without sounding cheesy.
They play had one fifteen minute intermission with the first half being 70 minutes and the latter half being 40 minutes. This is a bit longer than the average play, but it was interesting throughout. I never felt bored watching. However, I felt the intermission could have come sooner to help balance the two halves of the play more.
One aspect that posed some questions for me was the matter of Henrietta’s hearing aids. She wears large, black, circular hearing aids around her neck and periodically places them in and out of her ear throughout the play.
They’re mentioned a couple of times in the dialogue, but besides that provide no impact to the play. They seemed to be more of a prop than a pivotal character trait. I wished more was done with these and they drove the plot in some way. They wound up being more of a distraction than a part of the performance.
Another area of critique is how the time jumps were handled in the play. The characters would mention through dialogue that it’s been months, even years, since the last scene. These time jumps were jarring since the only indication of them was through dialogue. Perhaps if the characters changed outfits, hair style/length, or adjusted the setting between these scenes it would create an easier transition through time.
Besides these few concerns, I truly enjoyed the play. Stars are beautiful, and so is music. The combination of the two in the play was truly a gorgeous mesh and one that must be experienced. The audience grows to care for the characters and their lives, and there’s a twist that is very shocking.
Even if you’re not too interested in science, I would still largely recommend going to this play. It’s more focused on the life and journey of Henrietta rather than the science that the characters study.
Don’t miss out this spectacular star-studded performance at Restless Artist’s Theatre
- Web: http://rattheatre.org/silent-sky/
- Written by: Lauren Gunderson
- Directed by: Doug A. Mishler
- Evening Show Dates: 5/3, 5/4, 5/9, 5/10, 5/11, 5/16, 5/17, 5/18 @ 7:30 PM
- Matinee Show Dates: 5/5, 5/12, 5/19 @ 2 PM
- $15 online through rattheatre.org or brownpapertickets.com
- $20 at the door
- Senior, student, & military discounts available
- Sara Mackie as Henrietta Leavitt
- Kira Temple as Margaret Leavitt
- James Miller as Peter Shaw
- Debra Lynn Hull as Annie Canon
- Kathy Welch as Willamina Fleming
CORRECTION: Levitt was an astronomer, not an astrologer as originally reported.
Kylie Masznicz is a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, where she studied English with a concentration in writing with a minor in Communication Studies. She writes culture pieces for ThisIsReno, but her work has also been featured on Broadway Baby and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal. Her goal is to write a novel. She enjoys art of all forms, but chooses to express her own creativity through writing, music, and nail art. She also collects Christmas sweaters and has enough to wear one everyday from Thanksgiving to New Years.