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Past Event
Friday, August 26, 2022, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Silent Sky

5915 Severin Drive, La Mesa, 91942
Cost: $22 - $25

There's a slight stiffness to the proceedings in Mary L. Smith's production of Lauren Gunderson's story of Henrietta Leavitt and her fellow "computers," working at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, tallying the stars without ever getting to look through the telescope. A hesitance in speech, a reticence in emotion, a rectitude of movement. It's entirely possible that all this is a directorial choice — the play makes it clear that this was an era when women were constrained, even women who had been to Radcliffe ("basically Harvard in skirts"), then left their small towns in Wisconsin and gotten jobs for themselves in the big city. Why wasn't it enough for Leavitt to stay home and look up at the heavens? Because she wasn't sure the heavens were what her pastor father said they were, and what's more, she wasn't sure where home was. Where Wisconsin was. Where Earth was — relative to the rest of the universe. This sort of slip between astronomical reality and existential experience runs throughout the play. Sometimes, it works to great effect, as when Leavitt has her big breakthrough at the end of Act One (after returning home, no less). Other times, particularly towards the play's end, it gets a bit too abstruse to really hit home. But constrained or not, the cast exhibits real appeal, and communicates genuine warmth in their relationships, even in the midst of conflict. Whatever the stiffness, it is overcome by sweetness.

The story may be built around Leavitt's struggle to do "real work" and get that work recognized, but the play's real concern is Leavitt herself, and her recognition of what that work — and her life —means.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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