My Opinion on OAP’s Selection of Silent Sky

Picture taken from the LCHS Ensemble website.

Niamh Clarke

Picture taken from the LCHS Ensemble website.

Niamh Clarke, Opinion Editor

With the rise in support of the feminist movement, it’s easy to see how performances highlighting the achievements of famous women are becoming increasingly popular with audiences. And with this year’s District UIL competition quickly approaching, it seems our Theatre Ensemble has hopped on the feminism bandwagon.

This year’s performance from our ensemble will be Silent Sky written by playwright Lauren Gunderson. On Wednesday the 27th they performed for the first time for the public and my first impression was, WOW.

Silent Sky tells the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, an astronomer from the 1900s who was given the opportunity to work at Harvard University as a human computer, mapping the stars but receiving no scientific credit. She is told she’d never be able to do any astronomical discovery as her only purpose was to log the stars photographed by the men of the department. However, Henrietta will not be dissuaded as she journeys to discover what is beyond their stars.

The script itsself was a perfect choice for the competition. It’s emotional, it’s motivating, it’s funny, overall it’s an incredible story of triumph. Freshman Katelyn Craig did a wonderful job at bringing to life Henrietta’s ambitious character. Her facial expressions did a great job of showing the happy and sad moments throughout the story, although, near the end of the performance I could also see the exhaustion in the actress’s face.

Senior Adam Schratwieser plays Peter Shaw, Henrietta’s boss, and his character was by far the most well-played character on that stage. It shocked me at how much I liked Mr. Shaw by the end of the story. The tension and passion between Craig and Schratwieser were beautiful and left me wanting to see more of them together. And because this relationship was so well thought out it left me wishing I felt the same way about the two sisters in this performance. The sisterly connection felt like it was lacking.

And finally, the two comedic relief characters Annie Cannon played by Emily Green and character Willimina Flemming played by Remi Caruso were perfect. The two kept the play fun and a little lighthearted as they interacted together on stage.

My main criticism of this performance is that at some points the onstage conversations seemed closed off. When in a group conversation the actors seemed to gather into a circle, many of them with their backs to the audience. Because most communication is done from posture, hand, head, eye movement, and facial expressions the minute they turned their back to the audience all the nonverbal communication was gone. However, this can easily be fixed with different stage directions.

Overall, I highly recommend seeing this production and supporting the Theatre Ensemble. Their next performance will be this Thursday at 9 pm at the Berry Center where they will compete against three other schools hoping to advance to the next round. I challenge you all to go out and experience the same emotional rollercoaster this play took me on.

Check out the ensemble’s website: