Leesville’s theater department has announced that its fall play, Radium Girls, will premiere on November 14 at 7 p.m. The play is based on the true story of female factory workers in the 1920s who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous radium paint.
“We wanted to find a show that had somewhere between 20 to 30 people in the cast,” said
Jeannine Wrayno, Leesville’s technical theater teacher and technical director of the fall play.
Matthew Hurley, the new theater teacher, “doesn’t know many of the students” involved in the theater program at Leesville. The large cast will offer a chance to meet and get to know Leesville theater students.
A moderate-sized set will accompany the large cast. “It’s not nearly a big as Chicago, [last year’s spring musical], but there are going to be some levels with platforms and some walls,” said Wrayno.
Radium Girls is a fast-paced play, with about 20 scenes in one act alone. “We’re going to do a lot of stuff with having the audience look one way while a scene changes somewhere else,” said Wrayno.
“The makeup department will have some challenges as they have to show the progression of the illness in the factory workers,” said Hurley. A few actors will also have the challenge of speaking with accents.
“I was really drawn to the writing in the script and the fact that this play is a historical drama,” said Hurley. Many social issues explored in Radium Girls that are still relevant today, such as women’s rights, workers’ rights, and corporate responsibility.
“In the last few years we’ve done more light-hearted and comedic fall plays,” said Wrayno. Radium Girls will break that streak, and it is also the first fall show in recent years that isn’t a musical.
“If you have any interest in history, science, social issues, or just a gritty drama, then this play would definitely be of interest to you,” said Hurley. However, the subject matter of the play does gear it towards an audience of PG-13 and above.
Students can see the official cast list on Friday, September 6 at dismissal. Sign-ups to be on technical crews are also Friday, in the auditorium.