Abigail Stewart’s SILENT SKY is not her limit

Theater 40’s next production of their current season – Lauren Gunderson‘s Silent Sky – opens March 17, 2022. Anna Hearn Tobolowsky directs the cast of Marie Broderick, Dalen Carson, Tammy Mora, Abigail Stewart and Amy Tolsky. I had the opportunity to ask Abigail a few questions.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Abigail!

What cosmic forces brought you together for the first time with this production by Théâtre 40 of silent sky?

Curiousity. I missed the theater as a whole and decided to research some well-known theaters in the LA area…and something about Theater 40 really stood out. For one, it’s known for producing vintage pieces (which are my favorite) and that they’ve been around for a very long time. I emailed David Stafford and he sent me the silent sky scenario. I had no idea that I would end up auditioning for this and then getting cast. But I immediately connected.

Any particular direction that the director Anne Hearn Tobolowsky gave you really resonates with you?

Everything she says, I take for little nuggets of gold. She has so much passion when giving directions. I think the note I always hear in my head when I rehearse is “Stay grounded in the truth. Always be honest.” It’s difficult. Simple. But probably the most important thing to bring to a role.

When did you start rehearsals?

We started with a reading at Ann’s on January 30!

What would be your three-line pitch of silent sky to be?

Written in 2015, silent sky tells the true story of a 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt and its associates. The play is a great depiction of the trials and tribulations of the repression of women in science at the time. She gave us the tools to map the universe, and her discovery changed the future of astronomy as we know it!

Did you know of Henrietta Leavitt before being cast as her?

I didn’t know Henrietta before the play. And I think that’s someone important who gets lost in history for many. We should know more about these very important female astronomers and other female scientists.

If you had to submit Henrietta on an online dating site, what qualities would you list?

I think I would definitely add that she is very educated – a scholar. She has a spiritual charm. She likes to keep things simple – just a night out for dinner or a drink would be fine. Looking for someone who enjoys deep conversations about life and knowing anything about astronomy is a plus! Don’t look for anything serious.

What character flaws would you definitely want to omit?

She is a workaholic. She’s usually more focused on work than anything else – so she can’t promise to commit to much outside of her studies. She’s a little… what’s the word – “un-fun”? A very literal and factual person – not that she can’t have fun or be funny. But she’s such a serious person that she sometimes forgets to have fun.

As a student at Ardmore High in Ardmore, Oklahoma, did you always imagine yourself pursuing your acting career in Los Angeles?

Yes! Ever since I started high school, I knew I probably wouldn’t stay in Oklahoma. During my senior year of high school, it was my drama coach who started preparing me for acting school auditions here in Los Angeles. I had a lot of support here at the start.

Any special lesson you learned at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts that you have already used successfully?

Oh darn! I learned everything I know about character development and instant stage work. They gave me the tools that I now use on my own – I still have to be reminded sometimes. Always learning. But they created my foundation. Very grateful for my experience at the Academy.

What helpful advice would you give to a budding actor new to LA?

Enter the theatre! Theater is so educational and instructive. There is no such thing. You will continue to grow and learn each time you take the stage. It’s such an exciting and fun environment to play in!

What’s in the near future after silent sky for Abigail Stewart?

I would love to continue working with Theater 40 and be a part of the company and help in any way I can!

Thanks again Abigail! I look forward to meeting your Henrietta.

For tickets to live performances of silent sky until April 17, 2022; Login to www.theatre40.org

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