Posts Tagged one-woman plays

Review: ‘Miss Mitchell’s Comet’

Jack Seamus Conley of the Rainy Day Arts Collective in Seattle, Washington posts on the New Play Exchange this very nice review of MISS MITCHELL’S COMET, my two-person (but mostly one-woman) play about Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer.

“Fascinating and well-rendered story about an important but not-well-enough-known figure in scientific history. The use of the supporting actor to play the whole cast of characters in Maria’s life is an excellent move and really brings the focus on what matters: centering Maria Mitchell in a world that doesn’t give her achievements enough credit. Fabulous piece, and I always love seeing amazing historical women centered. ”

You can find a video production of this script here.


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Video: ‘Miss Mitchell’s Comet’ in Tampa

Powerstories Theatre in Tampa presented MISS MITCHELL’S COMET on March 12, 2021. The play tells the story of Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer who sparked an international controversy in 1847 when she discovered a comet — a discovery that the great observatories in Europe were reluctant to recognize because she was an American, an amateur, and a woman. Katerina Yancey stars as Maria Mitchell, Scott Cooper plays all the male roles.

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Logo for ‘Miss Mitchell’s Comet’

Powerstories Theatre in Tampa, Florida will present my full-length script MISS MITCHELL’S COMET as part of their virtual festival Voices of Truth in March. The theatre only produces plays that are based on true stories about women and girls. My play is based on the true story of Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer — and the first North American of any gender to discover a comet (1847). The show airs virtually Friday, March 12 at 8 p.m., starring Katerina Yancey of Fincastle, Virginia and Scott Cooper of Waterloo, Ontario. Here’s the logo for the show, designed by Samantha Sylvester of Mississauga, Ontario. I highly and happily recommend her work. Earlier I posted this video interview I did with the theatre.

Logo designed by Samantha Sylvester

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Photos from “Miss Mitchell’s Comet” in Orlando

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.

From left: playwright Dwayne Yancey, actors Susan Potrock and David Strauss, and director Celestino Maria DeCicco.

The reading itself. Photo by Chuck Dent.

I was honored to have two classmates from Montevideo High School join me — Mitch Percival and Linda Kelly Elkins. Both now live in Florida. Photo by Keith Yancey.

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.

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