by LAUREN GUNDERSON
The next in MCT's series of new play readings will be SILENT SKY by Lauren Gunderson, on Saturday, April 6th at 2 p.m.
The play will be read by Emily Pickens, MC Meyer, Becky Behl-Hill, Victoria Smith, and Adam Lucker. Tickets are $10, and will go on sale on Tuesday, March 26th at 11am.
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. The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt 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 believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.
According to American Theatre magazine’s annual survey, Gunderson was the most produced playwright in the country for the 2017–18 season. Her plays are staged almost twice as often as anyone else’s on the list, far ahead of venerated figures like Eugene O’Neill and August Wilson, who edged her for the top spot last year. (The survey excludes Shakespeare, America’s perennial favorite.) Although men still write three-quarters of the plays that get produced, Gunderson has built a national reputation with works that center on women’s stories. And, though most playwrights also teach or work in television, she has managed to make a living, in San Francisco, by writing for the stage. Her I AND YOU was produced at the Henegar's Upstairs space last season.
“…sheer magic [is] in Lauren Gunderson’s SILENT SKY…Gunderson [writes] economically and with bursts of smart, infectious humor.” —San Francisco Chronicle.
“…SILENT SKY could act as a simple reminder of what a pleasant, thought-provoking evening at the theater ought to look like. It’s a lively, funny, accessible play that’s alive with interesting ideas.” —ArtsAtl.com.
“[SILENT SKY] is a startling, entertaining true story of a brilliant, history-making woman—hitherto unknown to many of us.” —AtlantaInTown.com.
"Lauren Gunderson’s luminously beautiful play SILENT SKY is an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale. Bottom line: Heavenly.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution.