Saturday, 27 January 2018

Silent Sky | USW Theatre Through the Telescope

This week I was lucky enough to be invited along to see a couple of plays from the University of South Wales Theatre Through the Telescope season, a selection of contemporary student theatre on the theme of science. First up, I saw Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, a play based on the true story of Henrietta Leavitt who was one of Harvard Observatory's early "computers" and her achievements in mapping distant stars and galaxies. The play was approximately 90 minutes long (with no interval) but managed to pack a lot of story into a short period of time.

I felt that the whole cast were of a very similar standard and seemed to work well together as a group, but Laura-Jayne Smith as Henrietta Leavitt brought particular enthusiasm to her role and Huw Rowlands played the bumbling Peter Shaw very amusingly. The performance took place in a very small space, creating an intimate atmosphere that suited the piece and enhanced the moments of heightened emotion. That being said, I did think that some of the less dramatic scenes fell flat and could have done with some background music or different lighting states to strengthen the exposition scenes.

My favourite thing about the production however has to be the inclusion of BSL interpreter Julie Shaw, who signed the whole show but was integrated into the scenes, rather than just signing as an onlooker. It was really interesting to watch and refreshing to see such a small piece of theatre being super inclusive to the hearing impared. Overall, I really enjoyed this short but sweet production and it was a great start to my 2018 in theatre!

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