SVSU theatrical production features talented cast and production crew

Saginaw Valley State University’s theater department will debut its first show of 2022, “Silent Sky,” this week.

The play by Lauren Gunderson — playwright, screenwriter and American short story writer — will run at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, February 23-26 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 27 at the Malcolm Field Theater for Performing Arts. The game is rated PG. In accordance with university policy COVID-19 Policymasks/face coverings will be required.

“Silent Sky,” the true story of 1900s astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discovery, when women’s ideas were often dismissed until that men claim the merit.


Director Peggy Mead-Finizio, assistant professor of theater at SVSU, said the production, which features strong female leads, is what the world needs right now.

“This play checks all the boxes – powerful women, characters having to make tough choices, discoveries and a beautiful exploration of relationships. There are sibling relationships, love interests, personal challenges. These things bring science into a human and emotional domain.

The lead role of Henrietta will be played by Alyssa Yankee, a marketing and acting specialist from Macomb.

While performing, Yankee appreciates the love and humor between the characters throughout the play and the connection with the audience.

“I love that it spotlights an unknown female figure who has shaped so much of what we know of the universe today.”

Yankee received an Irene Ryan Scholarship nomination for her portrayal of Christine Linde in SVSU’s production of “A Doll House”.

She plans to graduate in May 2022.

For this show, the production team used new technology to help create a seamless experience for viewers. Open Sound Control, a computer network protocol, is used to send commands to other playback software over Ethernet to trigger different effects, such as sound, lighting, and audio signals, at the same time.

Lucas Inman, a theater student from Saginaw, worked as sound designer for this production.

To create a cohesive end product, Inman said communication between himself and the lighting and projection designer was the “golden key”.

“We made sure we were all on the same page from day one and included each other in our progress, changes and new ideas. It’s as if we were three co-designers trying to achieve a goal together.

Jaden O’Berry, a theater student from Flint, worked as a lighting designer. She enjoys collaborating with her peers in a symbiotic relationship between cast and crew.

“Working with Lucas over the past four years has been the most rewarding and educational aspect of being here at SVSU. He’s so smart and passionate, I get better just by bouncing ideas off him. It’s been made 100 times better with the involvement of Abbey (Kuhn) and Peggy because they both have such beautiful creative eyes and a vision that allows all of our overall concepts to be recognized and brought to life. nice to work with such talented people. I owe everything I am now as a designer to the work we were able to create together.

Abbey Kuhns, a theater student from Port Huron, worked as a projection designer. She compared designing shows to playing jazz.

“You and the other designers all have a unique way of telling stories and when it all comes together it’s beautiful. Working with my fellow designers on this production has cemented in my mind that I am where I want to be in life. .

One of the challenges in creating the projections was finding public domain media to be projected on one of the 10 projectors.

“I scoured NASA’s archive sites, free stock images, and public gallery for anything that was royalty free. All production was done with public domain media,” Kuhns said. .

Each lead designer also works in the community to develop their skills:

  • Inman worked on the lighting design for the 2021 “Holidays at Lebowsky” show at the Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts in Owosso. “My future career goals are to move into technical direction/management. I have skills in all technical areas of live performance. sound and video are moving forward. That’s what I enjoy the most when working in this field. Also, I get bored very easily, so sticking to one field would make me age quickly. I hope have the ability to manage multiple departments for a venue one day.
  • O’Berry works as an intern at the Midland Center for the Arts. “In this role, I am able to learn more about theater arts administration and exact programming for a season, especially as it relates to budgeting and ticket sales. For the upcoming show, “MLM is for Murder (Or, Your Side Hustle is Killing Us)”, I’m working on setting up the lobby display with another person with dramaturgical experience. It’s such a fun and unique show about how multilevel marketing and pyramid schemes can negatively affect some of those who participate. This experience helps me to become a more complete director and creator, which I am very grateful for.
  • Kuhns will work as an electrician for the summer season at the Utah Festival of Opera and Musical Theater in Logan. She will work on eight repertory theater productions, including “Carmen,” “She Loves Me,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” “I’m so excited to be working in Utah as an electrician this summer. The electrician for our latest production, ‘Animal Farm,’ and it was one of the most comfort zone stretching experiences I’ve ever had. ever done. I love theater because it takes me out of my comfort zone and into a raw and honest place. That’s where the art really happens, when we’re honest and vulnerable.

Tickets to “Silent Sky” are $15 each and can be purchased either in line or at the box office (two hours before an event). When tickets are purchased online, a link will be sent to your email to print or present as a mobile ticket.