The process of creating a play


Ryan Hatten

The early stages of a Silent Sky. Silent Sky came to EWU in March, 2020.

By Ryan Hatten, Contributer

For a production that airs for little over a week, EWU’s theater department is hard at work constructing the play months in advance.

Every quarter, EWU’s theater department presents a play (two in Spring quarter, when considering the senior capstone). Although the play only airs four to six times at the end of the quarter, that is just a fragment of the overall time and effort that is put into the presentation. By the first week of the academic quarter, students and faculty alike work to develop the production piece by piece.

This quarter, EWU is presenting Silent Sky, which follows Henrietta Leavitt, a female astronomer from the turn of the century who received no scientific credit for her discoveries.

While the actors are preparing to step on stage, carpenters, tailors, and electricians prepare the stage, lighting, sound, and wardrobe.

“This is a big show so it’s a big process.” -Shana Joslyn, Senior Lecturer and Technical Director

“This is a big show so it’s a big process” said Shana Joslyn, a senior lecturer and technical director for the theater department. “I don’t want to give away too many details yet, but there’s a unique structure that is challenging for this production.”

“I think it’s neat to see women in science pushing back,” Joslyn continued. “Especially for younger generations. Even in my job, I’m in a male dominated field, so it’s nice seeing a show where women are being represented in fields that we don’t usually see many women in.”

When Joslyn is busy teaching or managing other aspects of the theater, Greg Scheiber, the Shop Foreman and a graduate student in EWU’s MFA program, supervises student employees and volunteers. “I’m like an extension of Shana… She teaches skills in her three tech classes, which are all fundamental skills to different areas of theater tech and then I’m that supplement. What students are taught in class can be put to use here and learn other skills to build on top of those fundamental ones.”

Elizabeth Corrigan, a work-study carpenter and Junior majoring in Psychology, was inspired to join the theater after seeing EWU’s presentation of The Tempest. 

“I couldn’t tell you anything about [the play] but they had an arc on stage and it was the coolest thing I saw. Immediately after the play, I started looking into how to join the set production. Not long after that I had an interview for a carpentry position here.”

“It’s just fascinating to see all the work that goes into something that in the end only last for a couple of hours.” -Elizabeth Corrigan, Junior

“The set we’re building right now is quite fascinating,” Corrigan continued. “I really like how we are implementing things coming onto stage from the sky and from the back. It’s just fascinating to see all the work that goes into something that in the end only last for a couple of hours.”

“I’ve luckily gotten a good view of the base of what [the play] is and what we are building towards.” Said Nathan Cardenas, a senior theater major who works as a theater technician and sound designer for Silent Sky. 

“What I want the audience to know is that this is a wonderful story. It highlights the need to talk about people in history who have been ignored, people who do these amazing things but don’t get credit because of their gender or their race. I want [the audience] to know what it’s like to dream and to take those dreams and discover, and to not be afraid to fight for what you want to be doing.”

Performance dates of A Silent Sky are as follows: March 6, 7, 13, and 14 at 7:30 p.m.; March 8 at 2 p.m.; and March 12at 5 p.m. All performances are presented in EWU’s theater building and are free to students.