By Samara Kinyanjui ’27
On November 9-11 2023, the production of the fall play will be presented in the TPACC auditorium. Mr. Burnham will be directing the play titled Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson. Mr. Jiang, new to the Gunn Arts department, will be taking on the position of assistant director to Mr. Burnham.
Silent Sky is a play that takes place in the 1900s when women could not work with a telescope due to discrimination and bias in the workplace. The five women who played a big part in astronomy in the 1800s were Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, Henrieta Swan Leavitt, Annie Jump Cannon, and Cecilia Payne. The Lauren Gunderson play Silent Sky is one of the thousands of plays produced over the years. Going back to when the first play was, in 472 BC, “The Persians” by Aeschylus. The Persians is one of the oldest Greek plays to survive. Playwriting has changed drastically from the 5th century to the present day. Before, plays only tended to involve a protagonist and a chorus. Now, there are many additional roles in plays. The leading roles in Silent Sky will be played by Sofia Panzer, Daisy Moriarty, Taylor Sall, Shannon McCormack, and Sonia Romanenko.
Today, only 27.3% of astronomers are women as astronomy is generally a male-dominated field. Between 2010 and 2021, the gender ratio of women to men fluctuated significantly. The play Silent Sky captures the relationship between both men and women in the workplace and how each gender is treated.
Director of Theater Arts, Mr. Burnham, expressed the message he thinks the play conveys and the type of productions he selects for the Gunn community. “I choose plays which I think will inspire the school community and connect with both students and faculty alike. I hope that the Gunn drama productions expose our community to playwrights that they would not normally get exposed to. As a director who has directed two of Laura Gunderson’s plays, I think that she is vibrant and prolific in her writing. I love this play so much, I see it as moving, powerful, and admirable because it shines light on someone in history that was overlooked, and performing this play gets Henrietta Leavitt her due credit.” Mr. Burnham’s love for the play and his passion for the arts will surely help produce an amazing theatrical piece. He wants to do right by the school and the women who inspired Lauren Gunderson to write the play Silent Sky. The Frederick Gunn School welcomes the entire Washington, CT community to come enjoy the play at the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center on November 11, 2023.