Tribute to Women in Science, “Silent Sky” Showing at the Blue Barn Theatre
March 27th, 2017
Omaha, NE—The Bluebarn Theatre will present Silent Sky, written by contemporary playwright, Lauren Gunderson, on Thursday, March 23rd. The play is based on the true story of astronomer, Henrietta Leavitt, played by Haley Haas, working at the Harvard Observatory in the late 19th century. Harvard hired women to assist male astronomers in calculating data from photographs, but the female computers, as they were called, were barred from using the observatory’s telescope, one of the most powerful in the world at the time.
In spite of discrimination, Leavitt went on to discover the “period-luminosity relationship,” an important development that led to the measurement of distance between galaxies. For the first time, the scope of the universe was put into perspective. Susan Toberer, producing artistic director at the Blue Barn, explained why she had chosen Silent Sky for the calendar.
“When I chose this year season—you know I read a lot of plays, and I just felt like Henrietta Leavitt’s story was beautifully told,” Toberer said. “Lauren Gunderson tells the true life story of Henrietta Leavitt in a way that not only is cerebral and scientific but also poetic, and I thought it was a great fit for the Blue Barn.”
Gunderson’s telling of Leavitt’s story introduces a romantic element and draws together themes of love, passion, science, and equality in the face of adversity. Joining Haas on stage will be Sarah Carlson-Brown Judy Radcliff, and guest actor Christopher Joel Onken. Pamela Chase will make her Blue Barn debut.
“I think the biggest challenge in producing this particular show,” Toberer explained, “is the ability to not only honor the story and tell it correctly but also on her Henrietta Leavitt and to realize that she was not only an incredible female astronomer but she was also an incredible human being and an incredible American.”
Silent Sky will run at the Blue Barn Theatre from Thursday, March 23rd to Saturday, April 15th. For more information, visit BlueBarn.org.
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