I love going to the theater to watch live performances, may it be musicals or straight plays. Sometimes, I feel I don’t watch enough stage productions so I was fortunate to catch Silent Sky at Onstage Theater in Greenbelt by Repertory Philippines. It is a straight play written by Lauren Gunderson about the life of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the female ‘human computers’ at the Harvard College Observatory in the 1900s whose discovery became a major breakthrough in astronomy. What made it one to remember?
-A female actress appears on stage to reiterate theater rules in a Scottish accent. I love Scottich accents! And Irish, too. We discover later on that she plays Williamina Fleming, one of Henrietta’s colleagues.
-Henrietta played by Cathy Azanza-Dy, seems like a feisty one as she leaves her family to chase a dream. No wonder they chose to run this play this month. Women empowerment, FTW!
-Last time I saw Cathy on stage, I was performing with her and she was my fiancé in a production of Once On This Island more than a decade ago. So, it was great to see her on stage again. Biases aside, her portrayal was spot on for me, as she owned the stage and became the embodiment of Ms. Leavitt. Way to go, Cathy!
-In comes Peter Shaw, the head astronomer’s apprentice played by Topper Fabregas. Peter is an awkward, uptight character who eventually falls for Henrietta. Topper and Cathy create a palpable chemistry despite the difficulty of having a stronger female persona than its male counterpart. Again, women empowerment! Topper is a joy to watch on stage, too.
-Other characters aside from Willemina played by Naths Everett, are Margaret, Henrietta’s sister played by Caise Borromeo, and Annie Canon played by Sheila Francisco. They all provide equally strong support portrayals to complement the dramatic tones and comic punchlines of the libretto. So only one male character, you may ask? Again, #girlpower! It is Women’s Month after all!
-Act Pne ended pretty strong with a love story brewing at the brim but act two kinda lagged for me. I feel it’s not really the direction or the portrayals but just the material itself.
-But all in all, it was an enjoyable time in the theater, making you gush over the love story that eventually hits you in the gut for what it could have been, and inspiring women and everyone in general to reach for the stars, pun intended.
Yes, ‘Silent Sky’ is a quaint yet finely crafted production that you should not miss if you want a breather from all the epicness of Hollywood fare or before big musical productions like Lion King, start its run. The play runs 8 PM on Friday and Saturday, and 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday 'till March 25.
ALSO READ: Cultured!: The Galleries At Art Fair Philippines Were More Than Just A Background For Your Selfies!