SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A staged reading of "Sister of the Stars" will be presented by Catawba College Theatre Arts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, October 14-15 in the Florence-Busby-Corriher Theatre on campus.
Written by Dr. Bradley Stephenson and directed by Dr. Beth Homan, both professors in Catawba's Theatre Arts Department, "Sister of the Stars" tells the story of Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin and her attempts to become the first woman to earn her Ph.D. in astrophysics at Harvard College. It relays Cecilia's experience with the Harvard Computers, skilled women of notable achievement hired to process astronomical data at the Harvard Observatory, and other colleagues as she writes her dissertation. Based loosely in space and time, the script follows Cecilia through various events in the journey as makes she discoveries in both her personal and professional lives.
Throughout the show's duration, the Harvard Computers work together to advise Cecilia on her ventures as an ambitious female scientist in a male-dominated field and their relationships to one another, as well as relationships with their male authority figures. Patrons of the theatre are invited to attend this first-ever performance of this original work about friendship, sacrifice, ambition, and accomplishment.
Homan, the director, deems the show insightful, funny, and moving. She also stresses the importance of how these women shaped scientific history. "Dr. Stephenson's play examines, among many other things, this historical gender-dynamic that shaped our current understanding of our scientific roots. It also warmly and unceremoniously celebrates the tenacity, resourcefulness, and expansiveness of the scientific imagination."
"Sister of the Stars" staged readings are free to the public. The readings take place in Florence-Busby-Corriher Theatre on Catawba's campus, located down the hill from the Robertson College Community Center.