Courtesy of Falcon Stage Company
Better known as the Falcon Stage Company (FSC), the school’s theater department, led by teacher Michelle Machay-Foster, hosts an annual fall play that is always worth the price of admission. This year, FSC put on Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, a true story based on female astronomer Henrietta Leavitt.
In the play Silent Sky, Leavitt moves away from her small town of Lancaster, Massachusetts, after being offered a position at Harvard University’s Observatory. The play then continues to follow the trials and tribulations of a woman trying to advance in a male-dominated industry in the 20th century.
Senior Zoe Ferrell portrays Henrietta Leavitt, who arrives in Boston with hopes of discovering the earth’s position in the universe. Along the way, she befriends Willamina Fleming, (senior Danika Castleberry) and Annie Cannon, (junior Sydney Strickland), two other female astronomers at the university. Yet, while never featured, their boss Mr. Pickering dominates Harvard’s Observatory department, thereby taking advantage of the women on staff and their findings. Leavitt’s strong female presence, though, counteracts Pickering, as she challenges the normal female role of the 1800s. And, during her fight for female recognition, Pickering’s assistant, Peter Shaw (junior Brennen Risden) tirelessly manages the observatory while simultaneously falling for Henrietta.
As she was on the edge of a scientific breakthrough, Leavitt struggles to balance the many conflicts she faces pertaining to her life in Massachusetts along with her love story with Peter. Decisions between career success and love, both in a romantic and familial sense, flood her thoughts as she tries to manage the many competing aspects of her life.
This inspiring story uses astronomy as a vessel to highlight female empowerment with a perfect balance of wit, romance, and inspiration. Ferrell fulfilled the strong-willed role of Henrietta beautifully, as she channeled the wisdom of her character.
The audience revered the performance as evident by their standing ovation during the curtain call. Overall, the play was well done and junior student director Josh Bryan’s and the cast’s hard work paid off with one of the best performances that the FSC has put on.