The Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy theatre group will be performing their adaptation of the play Silent Sky December 8-10. VIMSIA hopes to inspire the USVI community through the theatre students under the direction of teacher Mary Walden.
Silent Sky is based on a true story written by renowned playwright Lauren Gunderson. The piece centers around astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, who did not allow societal restrictions based on her gender to stop her from contributing immensely to astronomy and science.
Mary Walden is an accomplished actor and acting teacher who studied the craft of acting at the Yale School of Drama and has directed more than 40 productions. She is currently teaching theatre at VIMSIA and is the director of Silent Sky. Walden spoke to the Source about the upcoming production, her enthusiasm for coaching students at VIMSIA, and why she believes this show is important for the USVI community.
“Giving students rich experiences is at the core of what I endeavor to do,” Walden said. “I wish students to be delighted in their own ideas and choices and come to the conclusion that they add value to the ensemble. My training is focused on the process and the work of an actor. That is what interests me,” Walden continued.
A True Story
“Silent Sky is a riveting play and the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, an astronomer who refused to conform to the limitations of her gender. She and her coworkers made discoveries in astronomy that changed the way we measure the stars, all before women had the right to vote,” Walden explained.
Leavitt’s discoveries “helped American astronomer Edwin Hubble [the astronomer for which the Hubble Space Telescope is named] measure galaxy distances in the 1920s, which led to his realization that the universe is expanding,” according to Space.com.
“Henrietta’s work on luminosity [the amount of light emitted by a star] informed Hubble and others to understand the expanse of the universe. No small feat,” she continued.
A Performance to Inspire the Community
Understanding more about and celebrating the accomplishments of brave individuals in the face of adversity, such as those portrayed in this play, can be uplifting for the entire community.
“We wish to inspire, make you laugh, encourage your worthy endeavor and enjoy a truly luminously beautiful play that could change the way you look at the stars,” Walden described.
Walden is proud of her students and invites the island community to experience the talents of the actors starring in the play. She is passionate about helping students tell meaningful stories and “telling stories that give a voice to the voiceless and build a desire to never give up on what is most important to you,” as she described.
“I am so thrilled for the students in Silent Sky. I can honestly say I have never witnessed such growth! I am so proud of this show. I hope you will join us in celebrating their exceptional work,” Walden explained.
Student actors in the ensemble include Destiny Donastorg, Natalia Figueroa, Kai Lewis-Yunus, Christine Rowe, Lillith Wade, Max Tulk, Micah Auchincloss, Amorea Alexander, Alex Sellars, and Oslo Manton.
Tickets for Silent Sky are available here.