Cape Henlopen High School’s theatre ensemble will showcase its fall play for the community with performances of “Radium Girls,” set for 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 18; 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19; and 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Cape High auditorium.
“Radium Girls,” written by D.W. Gregory, is set in 1926 when radium was considered a miracle cure, Madame Marie Curie was an international celebrity, and brilliant watches were the latest rage. The story evolves as the girls who painted the watches began to fall ill with a mysterious disease.
Inspired by a true story, “Radium Girls” highlights the efforts of Grace Fryer, a watch-dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. “It is such an honor to be able to play such a strong historical figure,” said Ellie Windsor, who portrays Fryer. “Being in this performance is like bringing light to the names and giving them the voice that they were not able to have. Performing as Grace is like getting to know a whole new person; I get to feel her pain and see the struggles that she went through along with all the other girls.”
In her role as Kathryn Schaub, another dial painter, Ella Charkow recognizes the play as being an an amazing experience. “I’m able to share the history and a story of women empowering themselves against strife while acting out their lives,” Charkow said.
The roles were double cast and senior Haley Roadenbaugh will play Schaub and junior Rylie Maedler will play Fryer. Each will perform as those characters for two of the four shows.
The story follows Grace as her case continues in court. She ultimately finds herself not only fighting with the with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her family and friends, as they fear her fight for justice will backfire.
Samuel Mincey, who plays Arthur Roeder, the president of the U.S. Radium Corporation, notes the intricacy of his character in the performance. “Arthur Roeder is definitely the most difficult character I’ve ever portrayed,” said Mincey. “At face value, he may be perceived as an antagonist, but he’s so much more than that. He’s a father and a husband, but overall he’s a businessman. Tackling that moral complexity between doing the right thing and upholding a corporation has been one of the most challenging things to demonstrate on stage, but once mastered, it’ll be one of the most gratifying experiences. Telling this story is so important to me – informing the audience about the dark history behind the Radium Corporation and the struggle these girls had to go through. It feels like I’m paying homage to them, which is such a beautiful feeling and is what drives me, as well as my cast, to perform to the best of our ability.”
“Working on ‘Radium Girls’ has been a crazy experience that I am glad to have had the opportunity to participate in,” said Mei-Li Troise, stage manager for the show. “The show is turning out great, and I’m sure anyone who sees it will thoroughly enjoy their time, just as I have.”
Tickets can be purchased in advance at our.show/capetheatre/radiumgirls or at the door.