CovenantCollege

In “Silent Sky,” Henrietta Leavitt accepts a job at Harvard Observatory, where she is eager to probe her unanswered questions about the distance of the stars and where the earth’s place is in the universe.

The Covenant College Theatre Department presents the story of Henrietta Leavitt, a young woman who defied early 20th Century expectations and sought out the exceptional. In “Silent Sky,” Leavitt, an ambitious young woman, accepts a job at Harvard Observatory. Upon arrival, she is anxious to use the telescope to probe her unanswered questions about the distance of the stars and where the earth’s place is in the universe.

Unfortunately, being a woman, she is barred from using the telescope. Instead she is employed as a “computer,” one of the girls instructed to chart the stars facilitating her employer’s research. Henrietta becomes so wrapped up in her work that she neglects Margaret, her sister, and Peter Shaw, a colleague vying for her attention.

“In Henrietta’s search to answer the literal question, where are we in the universe, she discovers how meaning comes from something far outside of ourselves,” sophomore Cara Smole, director of “Silent Sky,” said.

Leavitt’s refusal to abandon her search for knowledge in the face of opposition laid the foundation for others to understand the vastness of our universe.

Atlanta-born playwright Lauren Gunderson is currently the most produced living American playwright. She often writes about women, particularly overlooked female scientists.

In “Silent Sky,” Gunderson has provided a story about Leavitt’s achievements, as well as those of her mentors, Annie Cannon and Williamina Fleming, accomplished astronomers in their own right. This recognition of their achievements and supportive relationships contributed to Smole’s admiration for and desire to direct the play.

There will be a faculty discussion panel following the Oct. 12 matinee performance.

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