Locally, three productions were postponed amid prayers that they would be able to come in at the tail of the 2021-2022 season. Two are coming back and both are virtually unheard of, but offer possibilities of connections and interest. The two plays are Silent Sky at Tacoma Little Theatre, and Oregon Trail at CenterStage.
The third production, at Lakewood Playhouse, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was canceled by director Jen York. COVID had cast its net over several of the actors leaving no time to continue or to fit it in with the other productions which were ready to continue. Instead Lakewood Playhouse began with Head Over Heels which was a fun production indeed, to the joy of our granddaughters.
I’m surprised that no one heard me moan in disbelief when Silent Sky was taken off my review list. Possibly the fall and winter winds drowned out my disappointment.
Silent Sky is a true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt as she 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 and her female scientific peers knew both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.
Henrietta Swan Leavitt (July 4, 1868 – December 12, 1921) was a graduate of Radcliffe College. She worked at the Harvard College Observatory as a “computer” just like the women in the film Hidden Figures, measuring and cataloging the brightness of stars. Her work gave us the ability to measure the distance to faraway galaxies. Her techniques let us measure distances up to hundreds of light years. Her work at pennies an hour allowed astronomers to measure distances in our own galaxy and beyond. Because of her we know the Milky Way has a diameter of about 100,000 light years.
Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of Silent Sky features Jessica Robins as Henrietta Leavitt, Jillian Faulk as Margaret Leavitt, Mason Quinn as Peter Shaw, Rachel Permann as Annie Cannon, and Deya Ozburn as Williamina Fleming.
Silent Sky will run Friday, July 8, through Sunday, July 24, 2022. Friday and Saturday showings are at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Silent Sky is recommended for ages 12 and up.
Tickets may be purchased online at – tacomalittletheatre.com or you can call the Box Office at (253) 272-2281.
Coming back in August, just before the 2022-2023 play season starts is The Oregon Trail at CenterStage.
The story is not about the original Oregon Trail which involved people flocking to Oregon in the 1800s, hungry for new land and homes (taken from Native Americans of course, but let’s not go there). Actually, it is about the original Oregon land grab, but in an interesting and round-about way. The play is about a computer game.
Funny, provocative, and intelligent, The Oregon Trail follows 90s kid Jane from Middle School, where she takes solace in her favorite 8-bit video game, to adulthood, where the game seems to follow her with its all-knowing gaze, helping her navigate her growing pains. As she grapples with what it is she truly wants, Jane meets someone entirely unexpected: her own great-great-grandmother, on the Oregon Trail…in 1848!
Here are some reviews of the play itself:
Brash and Funny
“With a script that’s brash and funny, a cast of talented actors with great comedic timing, and deft set design, The Oregon Trail is a fun show, particularly for adults of a certain age group. This is definitely not a show for kids, despite the video game tie-in, but for anyone who grew up playing “Oregon Trail” or came of age in the ’90s, The Oregon Trail hits all the marks.” -EDGEMedia
Crisply Written Dark Comedy
“Brunstetter’s dialog is flooded with wit and warm ’90s nostalgia … it’s a heartening sign that geeks will inherit the earth when a nerdy educational video game from middle school gets such a strapping theatrical production at Portland Center Stage.” -The Oregonian
A Well-Meshed Cast
“I loved the contrasting stories and especially the wry voice of the Narrator as it gave a deeper substance to the inner self of Jane. Riordan has cast it well and kept the story understandable, even when jumping back and forth through centuries.” -Dennis Sparks
The play runs from August 19 to September 11, 2022.
Get tickets for Oregon Trail here – centerstagetheatre.com/tickets-2/
I hope you take advantage of these late 2021-2022 season tickets. Both productions offer different perspectives and unusual storylines.