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The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

A Glowing Review For This Year’s Play

The Radium Girls

The Radium Girls is a play-interpretation of the Radium Girls book based off real events, played by the C. Milton StageWright Productions, and directed by Mrs. (Ginnie) Bullis. Their production of Radium Girls was incredibly emotionally captivating, and really made the audience sympathize and understand the struggle of the worker’s fight for their own rights against large corporations during the time it took place in, a meaning that is still relevant even now. 

Radium Girls is about women who had worked in factories during WW1 and the early 1920’s, where they would paint the dials and gauges of military equipment with glow-in-the-dark paint, that at the time, was made with Radium. Radium is a radioactive material and because of how much the ‘Radium Girls’ touched and consumed the radium to do their job, many of them died or were near dying from radiation poisoning by the late 1920’s, leading the survivors to fight in court against the corporation and the people who had hired them. 

The Set 

The play’s first act took place in 1918 in various locations in and near a radium plant in Orange, New Jersey, and the second act takes place 10 years later in many different places. The various locations and times of this play lead to the set having to be shifted around and changed from scene to scene, sometimes the set was changed more than once in the same minute. You would assume that the scene changes would be difficult and feel clunky or awkward, but the stage crew managed to make the time between each change of sets to be only 8 seconds, and at most, 15 seconds! That is something, I was told, had taken a lot of effort to become as efficient as possible for that to happen. 

Aside from set changes, there was one other element of the stage that was very well done- the factory walls. Although there were many set changes, and the scenes never took place in the factory after the first act, the factory walls were kept in place in the background throughout the whole play. This choice is confusing or even seen as lazy during the first act, until you get to the second act where the factory walls lingering in the background of the stage start to have meaning to the characters in the actual play- symbolizing the constant impact working in that factory had on their lives. That element of both the stage and play was remarkably interesting and even had a greater impact on other scenes where the main characters were talking about the grip the factory, and its owners, had on their lives. This worked so well, that the only gripe I had with it, is that when the color of the aprons hanging on the factory wall are mentioned later in the play, they are referred to as the wrong color- which honestly does not matter and was not even noticed by the people more reasonable than me. 

The Acting 

The play was very emotional- emotional to the point that many people in the audience really did cry; I spotted multiple people crying or at least sniffling during the most emotional scenes of the play (and only one of them was a mother to a cast member). Everyone in the cast did an amazing job showing true, authentic feelings when they spoke, making every conversation feel real and convincing. Though every actor did a splendid job evoking emotion and sympathy, the three main ‘Radium Girls’- Grace Fryer (played by Eliana Devoe), Kathryn Schaub (played by Kiyomi Ton), and Irene (played by Carly Greaver), and the main antagonist, Arthur Roeder (played by Nicholas Angel) were exceptional and held the greatest grip of the audience’s attention during the play. During every scene where they argued, fought, or even just scowled, you could see people in the audience paying more attention and squeezed back into their chairs in discomfort, as if a real argument was taking place. When there was a scene where someone howled and sobbed at the news of being on death’s door, the audience really felt empathy for them. Overall, the acting and performance of all the actors was incredible, even though some of them were only Freshman doing their first play! 

The C. Milton StageWright Productions did a spectacular job with the efficiency and the performance of this production of ‘Radium Girls,’ and if they have all been this good, then I wish I had seen more of them. For people who are hoping to see the musical production this year, or even the play next year, I hope you will have high hopes from this. 

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