Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson

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Silent Sky

PLAY TITLE: Silent Sky
AUTHOR: Lauren Gunderson

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.75)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
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.

Buy it HERE on Amazon!

My 2 Cents: 
This is a beautiful play about one of the first women who worked in the field of astronomy. The reader (or audience if seeing the play life) get to see how she balances, or fails to balance, life while still pursuing her dream of reaching for the stars. It is intelligent, artistic, heart wrenching, and emotionally moving.

I started reading this play with no knowledge of what it was about other than that it had to do with female astronomers, or ‘computers’ as they were called back in the early 1900s. I was happy to find that it was not only beautifully written with humor woven throughout the story, but it avoided the typical traps stories like this often fall into such as only focusing on the negative aspects of women in what is considered a “man’s world”, over dramatizing work and home life balance… or lack thereof, or not sharing all aspects of the story such as family/science/and love… there is room for it all and I believe that Gunderson successfully brought it all together.

CHARACTERS: Through her writing, Gunderson brings to life each of the five characters in such a beautiful way. They each have their own history, their own desires, and their own goals. Life ends up differently for each of them, and as with our lead character, Henrietta, they all experience

  • Henrietta Leavitt
  • Margaret Leavitt
  • Peter Shaw
  • Annie Cannon
  • Williamina Fleming

APPEARANCE: it’s a plain colored cover, in this case blue, with black lettering, typical of a Dramatists Play Service playbook. I personally prefer this style of cover for plays because I want the writing to tell me what the characters look like, rather than an image on the cover.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“I used to think that to be truly alive I needed answers. I needed to know. But all this does not in fact need to be known, does it? We do. Because the real point… is seeing something bigger. And knowing we’re a small part of it, if we’re lucky. In the end that is a life well-lived.” ~ Henrietta in Silent Sky

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HL

Henrietta Leavitt, (born July 4, 1868, Lancaster, Massachusetts, U.S.—died December 12, 1921, Cambridge, Massachusetts), was one of the first female American astronomers. She was known for her discovery of the relationship between period and luminosity in Cepheids, pulsating stars. 

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Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/o4UV_YOR7Qk

Things My Mother Taught Me by Katherine DiSavino

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PLAY TITLE: Things My Mother Taught Me
AUTHOR: Katherine DiSavino

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.75)

 

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
Olivia and Gabe are moving into their first apartment together. They’ve just packed up all of their belongings and driven halfway across the country, to start a new life together in Chicago. Their moving day doesn’t go exactly as planned, though, and things become slightly more complicated when all of their parents show up to help! Can a two-bedroom apartment contain all of the love, laughs, worry and wisdom that’s about to happen?

This brand-new comedy from the author of Nana’s Naughty Knickers takes a generational look at relationships, and how sometimes parents are passing their best lessons on to their children without even meaning to. Funny and touching, this one will make you laugh out loud and fall in love all over again.

Buy it HERE on Amazon!

The Critical Points:
I don’t usually review plays, but this one just spoke to me! Things My Mother Taught Me has something for everyone! It’s your typical family drama full of unexpected encounters, comical misunderstands, and drama… lots of drama!

WARNING… SPOILER ALERT… WARNING… SPOILER ALERT… WARNING

WRITING: Katherine Disavino, author of Seasonal Allergies and Nana’s Naughty Knickers knocks it out of the park with Things My Mother Taught Me. It is a quick, easy read full of laughs.

STORY: Olivia and Gabe, a 20-something couple move from New York to Chicago… Gabe has hidden an engagement ring in the cushion of his favorite chair, the chair Olivia hates! He has also invited both of their parents to come down for the weekend, so they can share in the excitement of the surprise proposal he is planning. Things don’t go as planned, the moving truck is stolen (along with the $20K ring), and the engagement is cancelled. However, DiSavino doesn’t let it end there… they all live happily ever after when a plastic, cereal box ring gives Gabe hope and Max, the Polish building super, comes to the rescue and saves the day.

CHARACTERS: DiSavino pulls together a beautiful ensemble cast of characters in ‘Things My Mother Taught Me’.

  • OLIVIA KEEGAN – late 20s; energetic; neat; slightly OCD; an architect.
  • KAREN KEEGAN – late 50s-60s; Olivia’s mother.
  • CARTER KEEGAN – 60s; Olivia’s father.
  • GABE LAWSON – late 20s; a writer; good-natured.
  • LYDIA LAWSON – late 50s-60s; Gabe’s mother.
  • WYATT LAWSON – 60s; Gabe’s father.
  • MAX MIROWSKI – late 50s; Polish accent; building super; may be played by a man or woman.

APPEARANCE: The cover is cute, but when it comes to theatre scripts, I prefer a plain colored playbook. I don’t like to be shown a photo of the characters, instead I like to use my own imagination to figure out what they look like.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:
“Don’t even try that Casanova bull on me. I just peed in front of your mother. The last thing I want right now is a cuddle from the child that came out of her uterus.” ~ Olivia in Things My Mother Taught Me

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video

Check out this short clip from the
Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse production September-November 2013

https://youtu.be/w4ryseOmQKw