Theatre: “Silent Sky” opening this week at MNSU

Destiny Kempf ® Staff Writer|
Photos by Muhammad Ibrahim ® Staff Photographer |

On Sept. 16, the Department of Theatre & Dance will begin the 2020-2021 Studio Season with Silent Sky. 

The cast and crew of Silent Sky have been working extremely hard to put together this 2-hour-long play in a little over three weeks. 

In accordance with the Center for Disease Control guidelines, the theater capacity for the performances is being limited to 25%. Additionally, all patrons are required to wear masks. Performers will also be wearing masks and be practicing social distancing. 

The actors do not allow these precautions to diminish the immaculate storytelling and emotion brought throughout the performance. They enhanced their facial expressions and made some modifications to staging so the play is just as engaging. It is especially difficult to represent intimacy without touching another person, but the director conveyed this emotion with specific movements and gestures through the actors. 

When asked what he thought the audience would enjoy most, the director, Jim Van Oort, commented on the fantastic lighting and sound technicians. The set and effects used help captivate and immerse the audience’s attention into the story. Additionally, Van Oort highlighted how he was excited for people to hear the crucial message Silent Sky addresses.

Silent Sky revolves around the true story of female Astronomer, Henrietta Leavitt. Taking place in the late twentieth-century, Henrietta struggles as she is forbidden from using the telescope or expressing any of her individual ideas. Through her time working at Harvard University, Henrietta Leavitt makes groundbreaking discoveries about the vastness of the universe, but struggles to gain credit for her breakthroughs in astronomy. 

“It’s important to remember the 19th amendment is only 100 years old…these problems still exist today”, said Van Oort. “We must recognize and remember these historical figures.” While the play takes place a century ago, the struggles with oppression are still relatable today. 

In addition to bringing a light to the difficulties women face in STEM fields, Silent Sky also addresses the philosophical idea of “Why do we work so hard?” Although Henrietta Leavitt may not have been given a fair amount of recognition of her discoveries during her time, her legacy lives on with the advancements in knowledge she has given to mankind. 

Silent Sky runs Sept. 16-20, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 19-20 at 2 p.m. in the Andreas Theatre. Tickets are $8 for MNSU students.

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