by Caelan Conran
From October 26 to 28, the Park View Theatre department performed a rendition of Kate Moore’s Radium Girls, a play detailing the struggles of factory workers exposed to lethal amounts of radioactivity before radium was discovered to be dangerous.
Those involved with making the play were pleased with how it turned out. It was not without error. “At times, some of us messed up but overall it was good and we just kept on rolling,” said junior Kelly Cruz. Aside from very minor flubs, notes were hit and effort was put in. Senior Alia Jackson, who played the lead, Grace, was especially pleased with how the play went. “It definitely a thrill, like once all the stress is aside it was really nice to get into the mindset of the character and work with everyone else, and setting up props was great too, because it allowed for a range of creativity to flourish,” said Jackson.
The plot was definitely a high point, although as noted by senior Kevin Benitez, “It’s dark. It is dark because it’s about poisoning people with radioactivity even though we don’t know what radioactivity is. And my character in specific, I don’t know that I’m poisoning these people directly, but I’m supposed to play guilt which I have to say, is one of the harder things to pull off.” His character, Mr. Roeder, played the president of the business responsible for the manufacture of radium products which led to the illnesses in the plot. The ending certainly wasn’t positive, as a result of many characters dying from radiation poisoning. This does fit the theme of the play, however. “It wasn’t all happily ever after, which bugs me sometimes,” said senior Miles Roman, who played Roeder’s second in command.
The characters were believable and played well, but they were heavily focused on Grace the protagonist and Mr. Roeder, the reluctant antagonist, as well as their immediate acquaintances. This sentiment is shared by senior Alexis Cerritos, stating “I feel like it could only improve in taking more forays outside of Grace’s life, cause it kinda revolves around her.”
The play is not afraid to have conflicted characters, like Mr. Roeder. He was described by his actor, Benitez, as “Confused, definitely confused. He doesn’t know what’s going on, while his coworkers are obviously trying to pressure [him] to give into these character’s feelings, even though [he is] trying to do that while still sympathizing with them.” The protagonist’s allies are not perfect either, with a prominent doctor being revealed to be “This guy who previously everyone thinks ‘Oh, he’s the good doctor. he’s the one who’s actually positive. You see even he has a side that’s like, I want money,’” as Cerritos described him. All actors involved got into character wonderfully. “Some of the [people in drama] were like ‘you’re becoming a mother, a beautiful, angry, Hispanic mother,’” said Cruz.
As is normal in these types of events, each actor tends to have their own personal favorite scene. For Miles, it was “[What] I like to call ‘Yelling at Kevin,’ and it’s exactly what it sounds like.” This scene is also the favorite of the Kevin Benitez in question, who described his favorite as “When I’m yelling at my coworker Charlie, I love that scene. Because we’re just both yelling at each other, showing our points of view in a loud manner.” Jackson welcomed a reprieve from her normally timid character in her favorite scene, which is “Scene eleven, act two because I got to be angry.”
Overall, the play was one of the theatre department’s many successes. “Watch more of the plays, we put a lot of work into them,” said Cerritos. “We have fun making them, and we hope you enjoy watching them.”