Radium Girls: The preparation for a poisoned and perfect performance

Junior Linnea Nowlen portrays her character Grace Fryer touching the glow-in-the-dark paint dripping with radium to her lips.
Junior Linnea Nowlen portrays her character Grace Fryer touching the glow-in-the-dark paint dripping with radium to her lips.
Allison Bredow

The Peregrine Players of Archie Williams High School, drama program participants, are currently preparing for their second live performance of the school year, Radium Girls. This show opens Dec. 5 and runs through Dec. 10.

Radium Girls, based on a true story, follows the story of 20th-century female factory workers Grace Fryer, Irene Rudolph, and Kathryn Shaub, who paint watch dials with glow-in-the-dark paint. The women slowly begin to find out that radium found in the paint leads to deadly consequences, and the company behind it is more than happy to throw their lives, and their stories, under the rug. Radium Girls retells this true and shocking story in a dramatized, theatrical way.

With tech week well underway, student actors and tech prepare for their big performances, staying late after school in preparation. Junior Linnea Nowlen, playing the lead Grace Fryer, spends most evenings rehearsing with her fellow cast members.

(Left to right) Junior Lucy Bakowski and seniors Zoe Dombrosky and Kacia Walker smile with a bottle of Radithor. (Allison Bredow)

“This week is looking like late evenings in the theater with our drama family and dinners together. During tech week, we just live and breathe together 24/7,” Linnea said. 

For the past three months, the cast and crew of the show have worked tirelessly to prepare props, spread publicity, and perfect costumes. Students collaborate on all aspects of the 20th-century play, building tables out of scrap wood, collecting newspapers, and participating in student-led publicity photoshoots. 

“This week is super intense, and next week is going to be even more intense… but it’s something that all of us handle really well,” said senior Zoe Dombrosky, also playing Grace Fryer in their upcoming show. 

(Left to right) Juniors Sam Truman, Ford Cocciolo, and Jay Bohner portray their villainous corporate characters. (Allison Bredow)

Partnered with the intensity of the plot line, the themes of the show open up a world of opportunities for the actors in the Archie Williams drama department to explore. Students are able to creatively design the show through lighting, costumes, and makeup, all in order to support the thrilling and intense storyline. 

The actors utilized the creative power of glow-in-the-dark paint, playing on its importance to the show’s plot. For their publicity photoshoot and poster design, they stuck with a green color scheme, incorporating the chilling color into the bones of their performance.

(Left to right) Junior Jocelyn Ezell, sophomore Hanna Janson, and junior Julia Conrad portray their characters as they face the effects of radium poisoning in their bodies. (Allison Bredow)

“We’re excited to jump into a crazy week of performances with cool and crazy new makeup, costumes, and just a huge crazy community,” Zoe said.

Radium Girls’ opening night is Dec. 5, and it runs through Dec. 10. The show begins at 7 p.m., with donations recommended, 10 dollars for general admission and 5 dollars for Archie Williams students. Head to @peregrineplayersofawhs for more show details.

The entire cast of Archie Williams’ production of Radium Girls smile, excited for their upcoming show. (Allison Bredow)
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    ZoëDec 4, 2023 at 1:22 PM

    BEAUTIFUL

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