Radium Girls lights up Godwin stage

photo Ava MacBlane
Sarah Welch (l) and Riley Harper (r) painting the dials during a dress rehearsal

This past weekend, the Godwin Short Pump Players held their 2018-19 play, Radium Girls.

Radium Girls follows the sto­ry of the radium court cases in the early 1920’s after a number of young girls painting dials with a radium-based paint died as their bodies essentially rotted from the inside out.

The show was held on Fri., Nov. 9 and Sat., Nov. 10 at 7 pm, with a matinee showing at 2 pm on the 10th.

This was a change from pre­vious years’ schedules of one show on a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

“Thursday night crowds tend to be very small, and students often times can not come to them because of classes the next day, so part of it is looking into exploring if having one show on Friday and two shows on Saturday will get more students out to see the show,” said Godwin drama teacher and show director, Todd Coolidge.

This will be the second time Godwin has held two shows on one day. The first time was last year’s spring musical, in which case the change was made fol­lowing inclement weather.

Senior Riley Harper played the role of Grace Fryer, the show’s protagonist and a prom­inent figure of the radium trials of the 1920’s.

“One thing that really sur­prised me was how long the trials were postponed; they were hoping the girls would die before they could actually reach the trial, and so they kept pushing the trials back. It’s an interesting perspective to think about how they truly valued their companies over the lives of other people,” said Harper.

Unlike most plays in years past, Radium Girls takes on a more serious tone as opposed to a comedic one.

“This show is very timely. You have young women fight­ing to be heard – Grace Fryer (Harper) repeats the line ‘look at me,’ and she doesn’t just mean physically. They want their voic­es to be heard and recognized,” said Coolidge.

Radium has a half-life of 1600 years, so while the stage lights for the show may have gone down, the radium girls themselves will still be glowing in their graves for years to come.

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