Silent Sky is a beautiful script by Lauren Gunderson beautifully done by Williamston Theatre, under the inspired direction of Tony Caselli. Based on the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, the astronomer whose calculations unlocked the key to broadening our astronomical horizons to unimaginable dimensions, Gunderson humanizes and dramatizes a story that feels strangely modern, even though it takes place from 1900 to 1920. There are the “women’s issues” reminiscent of the “Hidden Figures” movie, and some starry romance, and inspiring science delivered in a relatable, human way by these wonderful actors.
Katherine Banks is earnest and inspiring as our brilliant heroine, torn between her science and her duty to her family. Annie Dilworth is excellent as her devoted/overburdened sister Margaret. Sarab Kamoo and Karen Sheridan (well remembered as the magnificent Sarah Bernhardt of Memoir last season) are remarkable co-workers who add energy and character and context. A Williamston favorite, Michael Lopetrone, is once again stellar, portraying “the man” Peter Shaw, a fictionalized representation of the backdrop of changing male expectations of the era.
Technical aspects added to the cosmic effect — especially projections by Bradley Branam and lighting by Daniel Huston enhancing Kirk Domer’s versatile set. Also enhancing were music — “For the Beauty of the Earth; for the glory of the skies” hymn played by Annie Dilworth, and other recorded music - sound design Quintessa Gallinat — and period costumes by Karen Kangas-Preston and unusual period props by Michelle Raymond.
This is a show full of wonder and light, inspiring and touching. “Who are we? Why are we? Where are we?” The audience was not large on a football Saturday, but this show brought us to our feet.
Silent Sky continues throughOctober 21 http://www.williamstontheatre.org