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'Radium Girls' at Quannapowitt Players: A Gripping Tale of Justice and Resilience

the moral of 'Radium Girls' influences viewers to advocate for themselves.

By Marielle SabbagPublished 20 days ago Updated 18 days ago 3 min read
Actors portraying a scene from Quannapowitt Players' 'Radium Girls.' Photo Credit to Jonathan Sachs.

Stand your ground for your rights.

The Quannapowitt Players presents the story of Radium Girls. Set in the 1920s, the story is about three women who succumb to illness from a radium-dial factory. One of the painters, Grace Fryer, fights the court system for safer working conditions.

I didn’t know anything about this story prior to seeing it. Radium Girls is a poignant history lesson about standing up for one’s rights. This play not only delves into the harsh realities of the past but resonates with contemporary themes of justice and health advocacy.

Jes Mabanglo-Burgett's powerful portrayal of Grace Fryer is nothing short of extraordinary. As the central character who’s battling the devastating effects of radium poisoning, Mablanglo-Burgett skillfully captures resilience as Grace fights for her life amidst the ruthless conditions she faces.

I loved the chemistry between Mablanglo-Burgett, Michaela Zullo (Kathryn), and Heather Hamilton (Irene). These three actresses create a fun dynamic, portraying the women’s camaraderie and strength. Their interactions make a compelling connection to the characters and their shared struggle.

A cast of ten actors performed a variety of 37 roles. Many actors seamlessly switch roles between scene changes. Matthew Lundergan is the best example, first playing as Grace’s fiance, Tom, and then as a reporter with a humorous voice. The dedication exhibited by the entire cast enhances the overall impact of the production.

Kris Reynolds merits special recognition. Reynolds had to step in as an understudy at the last minute. Reynolds delivered a noteworthy performance in multiple roles. Not only was Reynolds amazing, but she was also the show’s costume designer.

No show is ever complete without its technical crew. The show’s technical elements bring the narrative to life. The lighting team assembled dramatic light changes. The costumes match the story’s time, along with accommodating character changes. The glowing paint is a compelling visual component.

Time plays a significant role in Radium Girls. Arranged as a clock, Roman numerals are inscribed on the stage, and symmetrical posts are lined up in a circle. This small space morphs into a living room, a doctor's office, or a courtroom. Time subtly ticks away.

Hair and makeup designer Karen Burum created incredible makeup effects for the characters suffering from the disease. ‘Whoa,’ I said to myself when a character appeared with unsightly deteriorating skin from the impacts of the disease. The makeup impressively conveys a visual representation of corporate negligence.

Nick Gould expertly weaves the story, prompting viewers to reflect on ongoing struggles for justice. His scene direction is apt. Each scene concludes with a suspenseful revelation, fading into the next scene. I recall some audience members vocalized surprise. The final line leaves a lasting impression.

Radium Girls addresses a profound message. Don’t stop fighting for your rights and health. Your health matters. Health resources were limited in the 20th century. It also puts labor businesses in light, ensuring safer working conditions.

Thanks to Grace’s courageous fight, the moral of Radium Girls influences viewers to advocate for themselves. In witnessing Grace's struggle, the audience is not merely spectators but participants in a narrative that urges them to question and challenge oppressive systems.

After the show, I went home and researched more of the events. I always like it when historical shows inspire this. It means that the story impacts you to learn more. This is what theater is all about.

Well done to the cast and crew for documenting an important story. Radium Girls plays at Quannapowitt Players until February 11. Get a ticket and go see this historical show that spreads justice for safer working conditions.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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  • Naveed 19 days ago

    Nicely done!

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