Director's Statement by Cindy Gendrich
Silent Sky follows four turn-of-the-20th-Century American women resisting the boundaries imposed on them in science, art, love, and politics. Three of these women, ably charting the light and distance of stars at an astronomy lab at Harvard, must nevertheless fight to be taken seriously. Brilliant, meticulous Henrietta Leavitt is the sun around which this story revolves, as her curiosity spins her off in directions that test her resilience, and that eventually change scientists’ understanding of our universe.
Throughout, Silent Sky is about the courage and imagination to defy limitations. It’s animated by
heat, light, passion, and music. Though grounded in the realism of a true story, the play effortlessly skips through times and locales. Space (stars, the heavens, the sky, as well as physical location) matters. Light matters. Attraction matters. Music and silence both matter. I’m drawn to the gold star plates that feature in the play, and to the metaphor of the mighty oak, but many other images could inspire the scenic design. Silent Sky is a graceful, sweet play, but its characters’ devotion to precision and rigor are also important, and suggest a drive--maybe even a muscularity--that I find attractive. That said, it is a play unabashedly in love with beauty, unafraid of its emotionality, and equally concerned with the individual and the infinite.
Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson
The true story of 19th-century astronomer, Henrietta Leavitt, Silent Sky explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific and heart-bound discoveries. With music and math bursting forth onstage, Henrietta and her peers change the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.