Review: SILENT SKY - The Stars Shine At The Palace Playhouse In Georgetown

I highly recommend SILENT SKY, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be amazed at the artistry contained in the intimacy of the Georgetown Palace Playhouse theatre.

By: Mar. 16, 2023
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Review: SILENT SKY - The Stars Shine At The Palace Playhouse In Georgetown

I can't think of a better way to celebrate Women's History Month than to see SILENT SKY, a sublimely beautiful play currently running at The Georgetown Palace Playhouse.

Henrietta Leavitt (Joanna Gunaraj) 1868 - 1921 was an American astronomer who discovered a way to measure distance between stars, giving humanity the way to find our own place in the universe and opened the door to discovering galaxies beyond our own. SILENT SKY by award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson is the story of her personal journey from her family home in Wisconsin through her discoveries while working as a "human computer" at Harvard University. Leavitt lived in a world where women weren't even 'allowed' to operate a telescope, much less have real scientific input. Gunderson's play is beautifully written, focusing on the human heart as much as the cosmos.

Director Jessie Drollette and the amazing cast, crew and designers have created a show that will be remembered for a long time to come. Drollette's staging is beautiful, using her space and actors to full advantage. Her vision is clear and evocative. The entire five person cast deserves mention. Starting the central character Henrietta Leavitt, Jonna Gunaraj gives the character a youthful enthusiasm that is engaging, forthright and evolves throughout her performance. Linda Myers as Annie Jump Cannon (an astronomer and revolutionary woman herself) is fantastic as Henrietta's boss who finds she cannot repress the irrepressible spirit that is Henrietta. I've watched Myers perform many times over the years and I can say that her performance of Cannon is truly one of her best. Christine Bush is the emotional center of the cast. As Margaret Leavitt, Henrietta's older sister, Bush gives us a stern but loving heart to challenge the cold science of outer space. Rahul Parikh as Dr Peter Shaw, sees Henrietta as a beautiful woman with a beautiful mind. Shaw is the only male character in the play and is so incredibly charming onstage, he holds the audience in the palm of his hand for the entirety of the show. Perhaps my favorite performance of the evening was Saphronia Sollace as Willamina Fleming. Sollace gives a wonderful performance as another of Henrietta's colleagues. From her first entrance she was on fire. Every joke landed with professional ease. She gives a multi dimensional performance that had us all laughing at her gentle jokes and spunky attitude.

The technical aspects of the show were mind blowing. The set is gorgeous in its simplicity. Designed by Palace newcomer, Jennifer Rose Davis (a well known Austin designer, artist, producer and costumer), the set has depth that gives us a glimpse of the universe yet compels the audience to focus on the actors. The elegant costumes are fantastic and flawless and are also designed by Davis. Every piece meticulously color coordinated, fitted and period perfect, seeing the clothing alone is worth the price of admission. The lighting design by Faith Castaneda is incredible. Beautiful colors play across the stage, creating starlight and rainbows of light. Kudos to director Jessie Drollette for putting together such a feast for the eyes and the heart.

I highly recommend SILENT SKY, you'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll be amazed at the artistry contained in the intimacy of the Palace Playhouse theatre.

SILENT SKY

by Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Jessie Drollette

The Georgetown Palace Playhouse

March 3 - April 2

Tickets: $12 - $30







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