By Lilia Bowman-Bekemeyer
Sitting picnic-style while watching an entertaining performance about a female astronomer trying to prove her love for science. Henrietta Leavitt, a 1900’s astronomer working at Harvard University, played by Elizabeth Santana, theatre performance junior, was a woman that worked hard to prove she was right. The play itself by Lauren Gunderson, these actors, and the crew behind it did this story justice.
This performance showed these actors’ true talents. With the raw emotion regarding death, unfair incidents and true happiness, the entire cast was outstanding.
The show itself had an interesting story about an astronomer that made a big discovery. She measured the universe. But it didn’t start with her being able to focus just on her work.
She was a computer at Harvard, where she read plates of the sky and pointed out stars. She would stay after hours, sometimes all night, and work on her discovery. Cepheid stars. Flashing dots in the sky to most, but to Leavitt, it proved that there were stars billions of lightyears away.
Unfortunately, the performance started with a few technical difficulties. The microphones the actors used kept cutting in and out, but the actors spoke loudly enough and the night around them was quiet so the audience could hear.
The relaxing atmosphere the scene of how to watch this play brought was what made it interesting. Sitting on a lawn chair, or blanket while watching underneath the night sky. The stars above the audience made it feel as if you were a part of the show, which was at first a little worrisome due to the play being performed outdoors.
The cast and crew also used the space to their advantage. On the hill, where most of the play was performed, is where the “office” was where Leavitt worked. But on the path next to the stage, they used as an outdoor type scene.
Peter Shaw, played by Gabriel Gonzalez, communications junior, would run on stage from across the field which was next to the stage.
Shaw was the love interest for Leavitt, but they eventually became friends. Gonzalez did an amazing job running around the stage. He was wonderfully likable because his character was almost too awkward to stand, but in an enjoyable way.
The cast did an excellent job portraying these characters, Leavitt and Shaw, falling in love even though they had never had a conversation of more than a few words. But Shaw was supportive of Leavitt, and the actors in the scenes with Shaw and Leavitt made it seem like they were in love, but the love that’s awkward and new. Even when Shaw and Leavitt just became very supportive friends, they had a strong relationship that these actors showed very well.
The story was a wonderful, uplifting story that ended in tragedy, as Leavitt died and Santana tells how all of the other characters die, but the audience is left feeling like the people in the play accomplished enough that when they were gone, it did not even matter because they had extremely successful lives.