MUST SEE: ‘Silent Sky’ at Shea this weekend

  • Members of the cast of ‘Silent Sky’ rehearse a scene. Contributed photo

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea.

Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories.

As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.

“Silent Sky” is the true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. The play explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them.

Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believed in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

This play features a cast of local Pioneer Valley actors, including Myka Plunkett, Linda Tardif, Marina Goldman, Louise Krieger and Reynolds Whalen.

Spindrift Theatre presents “SILENT SKY” by Lauren Gunderson tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A in Turners Falls.

Tickets are $16 general admission and $14 seniors and students. Tickets are available online and at the door. For more information, call 413-648-7432. Visit: sheatheater.org