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  • Writer's pictureZoe Schuldrenfrei

Edgemont Theater: Radium Girls

If Ms. Andersen never had you watch Radium Girls in her Chemistry class, don't fear, because this spooky season, Edgemont High School is putting on its very own production of this true story! With two shows on October 28th and 29th at 7 pm, you can buy tickets through one of the QR codes on campus, or a link that will be sent out by Dr. Shapiro. Radium Girls is a period drama focusing on the women and men who worked for the U.S. Radium Corporation in Orange, N.J. The story begins in 1926: Radium is a miracle cure and Madame Curie an international celebrity, the latest rage.

Radium was discovered in 1898 by French physicists Marie and Pierre Curie. The elementś dangerous traits were not, at first, well-known. Radium found early use as a successful cancer treatment (for shrinking tumors), causing many to consider radium a “miracle” element and use it to make commercial products including toothpaste and cosmetics. Young women would brush radium onto their teeth for a more radiant smile.

Radium Girls focuses on a group of young girls hired to paint dials (watches) that begin to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Radium Girls follows the efforts of Grace Fryer, the protagonist of the show, played by Leyla Tastan (‘25), as she fights to expose the industry.

Her chief foe is her employer, Arthur Roeder, played by Carter Medved (‘25), who finds it difficult to believe that the same element that can do wondrous things like curing cancer has a hand in the horrifying illness among his employees. As the play progresses, Grace finds she is not only fighting with the U.S. Radium Corporation but with her friends and family too, as they fear her fight for justice will backfire. According to critics, Radium Girls is a “powerful” and “engrossing” drama that offers a glimpse into American obsessions of wealth, health, and fads of science.

According to Leyla Tastan, “Radium Girls has been a great experience so far, and I cannot wait to see the show come together. The cast connects so well on and off stage and rehearsals have been so energizing!”

Because the show has a special message and deals with such heavy material, the cast appreciates the guidance and directions of their Director and Producer, Dr. Shapiro. Leyla says, “Dr. Shapiro gives us room to build off of one another and encourages us to grow as actors, spending time on what he calls the ‘peas and carrots,’ or, the little details in each scene. I can feel how excited the cast is to put on this incredible show!”

The cast of 25 students, who have been rehearsing since September 14th, are excited to put on a show without the restrictions of COVID-19. There is a large student section helping out with the show as well. Zoe Schuldenfrei is Student Producing, Owen Richmond is Student Directing, and Ella Schneyer and Casey Blumberg are Co-Stage Managers.

If you would like to be a crew member, reach out to Dr. Shapiro or any of the people listed above. This will be the first Fall Drama that will not have any limits on audience size, and anyone can buy tickets to see the show! Tickets will cost $15, and you can find updates on @edgemonttheater. Come support Edgemont Arts!


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