Silent Sky Takes Center Stage

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Isabel Chiuchiolo

Senior Sarah Kimmerling delivers the show's final monologue during a Tech Week rehearsal. Kimmerling won Best Actress in the District at the District 11 One Acts Festival for her portrayal of Henrietta Leavitt.

Charlotte Varnes, Editor-in-Chief

Following a history-making performance at the District 11 One Acts Festival, Silent Sky is making its way to the Holy Trinity stage on January 10. The show chronicles the life of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the first female astronomists and the first person to theorize that there are other galaxies aside from the Milky Way, as she takes a position at Harvard’s observatory in the late 1800s. Senior Sarah Kimmerling, recipient of Best Actress in District 11, is portraying Henrietta, supported by seniors Liz McKee, Jacob Coggshall, Riley Whitfield, and Chelsea Terry. 

Theater teacher Mary Carson Meyer is directing the production with the help of Technical Director Philip Lupo. There are several elements of the show that struck a chord with Meyer. 

“I chose Silent Sky because I came across the script when a local director was doing it as a reading at Melbourne Civic Theater, and I fell in love with the story,” Meyer said. “I read the script, and realized that it was a true story based on real people. I started researching about their lives and they fascinated me. I think that the dynamics of Henrietta Leavitt and the constraints of the time period she was living in, the things that society wouldn’t let her do because she was a woman, the things that she accomplished through all of that, it’s just remarkable.”

One unique element of the production is that nearly the entire cast and crew is made up of seniors, many who have taken theater for all six years at the Upper School. Due to this, many members of the production share a close bond. 

“The cast is really connected, partly because we’re all seniors and partly because we all have such a strong passion for theater,” said Terry. “We all put in 110% and love to have fun together.”

“The cast for the one act this year has really bonded over this experience,” said McKee. “We’ve all been in a similar theater class for the last five years of theater, so this being our last one act we perform together makes it very special. We feel like knowing this is our last time being able to perform a one act together onstage makes us try harder and put effort into it, and also have fun with it. We’re very excited to compete at state.”

Those involved with the production all have different favorite aspects of the show, from the themes to the set. 

“I think this show is special because while it’s a time period piece, it also deals with things we can relate to today like the feminist movement,” said Terry. 

“I think the show is so beautifully written because it captures so many different aspects of the time period, but also the characters and the hearts of the people in the show,” Meyer said. “We see Henrietta and this beautiful love story that she could have had that never unfolded the way she wanted it to, but we also see the amazing story of her becoming best friends with these women that she worked with at the time. We also see the accomplishments of her becoming one of the first people to chart stars and measure the universe. I think all of those things happening in one show is incredible. It’s captivating.”

“The set of the show is very interesting because it’s three different locations that are onstage the whole time,” said McKee. “Philip and his crew meticulously use the lighting to point out scenes and [let us] read letters from two locations at the same time, which makes it very interesting. There’s always a different dynamic happening each scene, so the audience is always engaged. The star lighting that we have that projects the star lights on to the stage as well as the audience at some points is very pretty and makes the show impactful.”

“It’s interesting because it’s about the first female astronomers which is cool to watch, and also there’s a bit of a love story,” Whitfield said. “It’s funny too; there’s bits of comedy in it.” 

Following the school production, the cast members will focus on preparing for their Florida Thespians Festival performance on March 18 in Tampa. Only four one acts from District 11 were chosen for the competition, and this is the first time ever that Holy Trinity has been selected. While the cast and crew are excited for the chance to make history, Meyer is looking forward to sharing the story.

“One of the reasons we do theater is that people walk out of the theater and think that they’re challenged, which makes them go and learn more about what they just saw,” Meyer said. “I think that getting to bring that to our school community and also getting to take it to Tampa and show the students that are at that state festival, is just a really great gift.”

Holy Trinity’s thespians can’t wait to present the play on the Holy Trinity stage before state festival preparations begin, so come out to the Scott Center on January 10 at 7 p.m. in order to see the history-making production and support fellow students.