Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
The Wonders of the Universe: Pygmalion Productions' SILENT SKY
You could say that this production has been nearly 40 years in
the making. Since I was 10 years old, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos opened by eyes to the wonders
of the universe and the endless beauty it holds, I’ve been hooked. Though
science in general has always interested me, astronomy and physics have been
the field I would always come back to when I had a hunger for more science in
my diet. Books like A
Brief History of Time, Coming
of Age in the Milky Way, and The
Elegant Universe always
inspire me to new perspectives, though I’ll be the first to admit that I will
sometimes get lost at times.
That getting lost, though, is part of the joy and wonder of it
all for me: the knowledge that the universe is bigger and weirder than I can
hold in my head is a great comfort. I find a true sense of awe is a lovely accompaniment to
life's daily worries.
What a joy it was, then, to find Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky. Gunderson is
a fantastic new voice in American theatre, and to find this gem of a play
highlighting the unsung contributions of early female pioneers in astronomy was
like finding the golden ticket. I fell in love immediately with her story of
Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who worked at Harvard Observatory in the early 20th
century and nothing less than led us to finding the size of the universe.
Prevented by her sex from even peering through a telescope, she pored through
photographs and numbers as a “human computer” and found a pattern no one had
After finding this play and falling in love, what better home
could there be for it than Pygmalion Productions? When Teresa Sanderson
mentioned to me they were doing a season looking at women in history I knew Silent Sky would be a perfect fit.
Pygmalion Productions creates performances that share the human experience
through the eyes of women, and this seemed like a way to tell not only a story
of women in history but to talk about the current work still to be done
encouraging and enabling young women to enter STEM fields.
Heart-filling and inspiring, and with a deep sense of
wonder, Silent Sky brilliantly
marries science and the human heart. I am so excited to be part of
the Pygmalion Productions team bringing it to Salt Lake audiences.
Mark Fossen (Director) is
thrilled to return to PYG after appearing in 2008 production of Sordid Lives.
Local directing credits include The Glass Menagerie, The Crucible,
Death of a Salesman, Our Town, Skin of our Teeth, and A
Streetcar Named Desire at The Grand Theatre, Bellwether and Don
Juan Comes Back from the War at Westminster College, Stage Kiss
and The Fables Project at Wasatch Theatre Company; The Children’s
Hour at The University of Utah; August: Osage County for Utah
Repertory & Silver Summit; Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer’s
Night Dream, and As You Like It at Davis Arts Council; and An
Ideal Husband at Pinnacle Acting Company. He serves on the boards of The
Grand Theatre and the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, and is an adjunct
instructor at Westminster College and the University of Utah. He is a graduate
of the University of Utah and is currently completing his MFA at the University
of Idaho. http://markfossen.info
Ticket Tuesday with NOVA Chamber Music Series
Winners have been chosen for this giveaway from NOVA Chamber Music Series.
Congratulations to Rachel in Magna and Amanda W. in SLC!
Starving Students at SLAC
As an undergraduate student
studying Vocal Performance, there were a few things I did religiously:
Practice, homework, more practice, and stare at my bank account sadly as
posters for the newest opera production at Pittsburgh Opera were plastered all
over my dorm building. I knew that seeing professionals doing what I wanted to
do was necessary, but it wasn’t possible on my meager pennies as a student.
Sure, they had student tickets, but that was just half-off of the normal ticket
price. Still just too expensive.
When I started working at Salt Lake Acting Company a
few years ago, I thought about those times in my education. How could I help
the theatre students around here to have better access to the professional
plays at SLAC? Cynthia Fleming, SLAC’s Executive Artistic Director, has always
been very dedicated to making theatre available to all age groups so we sat
down to discuss how to make it even BETTER for theatre students in Utah. And
voila! The Starving Student Artist Pass was born!
The Starving Student Artist Pass is a $32 ticket
package for current theatre students that includes one ticket to each of SLAC’s
mainstage plays during the season. (SATURDAY’S VOYEUR and our annual children’s
show are available as add-ons at a discounted rate!) Because of incredibly
crazy schedule that theatre students have with rehearsals and other events all
year long, the Pass also includes the flexibility to choose any night of a
performance during the run with guaranteed entry. Starving Students never need
to call ahead to get into a show. Even if it’s sold out, we’ll get you in.
Also included in the Pass is access to masterclasses
with visiting theatre artists including directors, actors, playwrights,
designers, etc. FOR FREE. I mean, as a student, I know that this opportunity
would have made me giddy with joy. These masterclasses could easily cost over
$100 in cities like New York and I am so thrilled that our Starving Students
get to experience them for free. Recent masterclasses have included short play
composition and staging with playwright Julie Jensen and director Tracy
Callahan, puppet work with Glenn and Linda Brown, acting tips with actor April
Fossen, and we are so excited to be providing a Q & A with HAND TO GOD
playwright Robert Askins coming up in just a few weeks.
Now in its second year, we have more than doubled the
number of our Starving Student Pass-holders. We have students from the
University of Utah, Westminster, Salt Lake Community College, Utah State
University, and even Idaho State University.
The thing that always strikes me the most when I
interact with the Starving Students is what incredibly talented, smart,
passionate people they are. In a climate where so much is at stake in the arts,
I have no doubt that the future of these theatre artists is brighter than we
could ever imagine. Their voice is loud and strong, and their creative prowess
will produce truly inspirational things. I can’t wait to witness it all.
Olivia Custodio received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon
University and her Master of Music from the University of Utah. Originally from
Columbus, Ohio, she is still trying to figure out fry sauce. Olivia joined the
SLAC family in 2014, working in the box office, assisting in audience
communication and development. In 2016, she became SLAC's Development Manager.
A local actress, you may have also seen her onstage in many productions
including SATURDAY'S VOYEUR, ART DOG, STREETLIGHT WOODPECKER, I'LL EAT YOU
LAST, and various New Play Sounding Series readings at SLAC.
Ticket Tuesday with Wasatch Theatre Company
Congrats to Carli in Taylorsville! You are the winner of this giveaway to see Wasatch Theatre Company's
DINNER by Moira Buffini. Stay tuned for more ZAP Ticket Tuesday opportunities!
A Pinkalicious Ticket Tuesday
A winner has been chosen for this giveaway from Utah Children's Theatre. Congrats to Tomoe in SLC!