Tricia Stiller: Station's 'Silent Sky' a shining example of breaking down barriers

Tricia Stiller: Station's 'Silent Sky' a shining example of breaking down barriers

For centuries, women have been raising social consciousness, which though once set at a constant and steady simmer has more recently erupted in a full rolling boil. And so it is particularly important and rewarding when we have an opportunity to learn more about our pioneering sisters who broke through barriers in both education and the workplace, thus laying the groundwork for all that we enjoy today.

Much like the movie "Hidden Figures," which introduced many of us to the female mathematicians that made space travel possible, "Silent Sky," now playing at the Station Theatre, introduces us to Henrietta Leavitt, a female astronomer whose scientific discoveries broke new ground in the understanding of the vastness of the universe.

Leavitt, despite being hearing impaired, worked her way into Harvard's Observatory, where she and a team of women worked as computers, measuring stars from photographic plates. Her passion for her work and her insatiable hunger for knowledge led to her being nominated for a Nobel Prize.

Written by Lauren Gunderson, "Silent Sky" is a beautifully crafted biography of a practically forgotten trailblazer. Infused with humor and charm, the story delights from start to finish, due to intelligent direction by Katie Burke and a compelling portrayal of Leavitt by Anika Lena Vogen.

I've not had the pleasure of seeing Vogen's work before, but I can tell you, I am already looking forward to the next opportunity. Her Leavitt was driven, yet vulnerable, and everything in between.

Joining her on stage are Emma Anderson as her devoted sister, Margaret; Laura Alcantara, as her strong and sensitive colleague Annie Cannon; Carolyn Kodes, as the wise and maternal Williamina Fleming; and Jace Jamison, who shines as the man in the room who struggles in a world that forces him to see things differently.

Costumed expertly by Jenna Kohn and Hanna Yonan, with a magical set design by Emma St. John, this production, helmed by an all female crew, is a great evening of theater for all ages.

There's a beautiful rightness to the fact that The Station Theatre presents this story of foundational change just days after its very foundation was shaken by a random pickup truck on an icy road. The building, it's mission and its people still stand, and we are all the better for it.

Tricia Stiller is the downtown division manager for Bloomington Community Development and is the artistic director for Bloomington's Summer Theatre Program.

Topics (1):Theater