My full-length script MISS MITCHELL’S COMET — based on the true story of Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer — had a staged reading in Orlando Dec. 13, 2017 by the Playwright’s Roundtable at the Orlando Shakespeare Center.
MISS MITCHELL’S COMET
Based on the life of Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer. She grew up on Nantucket Island during the whaling era, where she learned the stars at a young age from her father, who worked on navigational instruments for the sailors. In 1847, she became the first American to discover a comet, and went on to win fame as the first woman in a variety of scientific accomplishments, ending her career as a professor at Vassar College. Along the way, she faced opposition from men and women alike who frowned on a woman being a scientist. At Vassar, she was a hard taskmistress, insisting her students learn complicated mathematical formula to understand the orbits of the planets. Deeply religious, Maria Mitchell insisted that these formula were nothing less than a hymn to God’s grand design. Yet she also clashed with authorities, who were often exasperated by her disregard for school rules. She roused students in the middle of the night to look at the sky, once ordered a tree chopped down because it blocked her view of a comet, and even asked a minister to cut short his prayer at evening chapel so she could go observe Saturn. Cast: Two — one woman in her 50s and a man to play various other parts. This is basically a one-woman show with some incidental parts played by a man. Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.