In the wings… NIGHT SKY for Joe

April 3, 2008


On May 1, 2007, the Mo`olelo Board of Trustees and staff were sitting in the Mo`olelo conference room in Kearny Mesa, discussing potential projects for 2008. Artistic Director Seema Sueko mentioned the script Night Sky, a beautifully written play by Susan Yankowitz that tells the story of an astronomy professor who is rendered aphasic after suffering a concussion in a car accident. The play explores the relationship between the black holes in the cosmos and the black holes in the mind; the poetry of unconventional language; and the ways in which all of us struggle to communicate the thoughts and feelings locked within our most private selves. 


In a unique moment of art imitating life, or rather life guiding art, Joe Hiel, husband of board member Elaine Hiel, who had been patiently reading the paper until the end of the meeting, perked up. He pulled out The San Diego Union Tribune, which featured a  front page article about soldiers returning from Iraq with brain injury. Joe, whose stroke in 1981 rendered him aphasic, pointed to the news article, referenced the play, and said “This is me.” The decision was made, Mo`olelo would produce Night Sky for Joe and for all of us who are unaware about brain injury.


Joe passed away on December 28, 2007 and left a huge hole in the hearts of everyone in the Mo`olelo family. We produce Night Sky this fall in his memory and hope we can do his name justice by telling the under-represented story of aphasia.  



 Night Sky will run August 27 – September 21, 2008 at The Studio Theatre at La Jolla Playhouse. Tickets are available here:


One Response to “In the wings… NIGHT SKY for Joe”

  1. […] challenge, is the closing performance of Night Sky. You can read more about Joe and Night Sky here: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s