Radium Girls: A Show to Remember


Maddy Snyder, Staff Editor/Writer

March 11 was the opening night of the Zachary theater department’s production of Radium Girls, a chilling, melancholy play that recounted the tragic ending of the female factory workers who contracted radium poisoning around the 1920s. The factory workers painted watch dials with self-luminous paint, cleaning their brushes with their lips because rags were too expensive. What the girls didn’t know was the paint they were ingesting was deadly; it contained radium, a substance that we now understand to be toxic. Exposure to radium caused the girls’ jaws to basically deteriorate, and the sickness would eventually spread to the rest of their bodies, resulting in inevitable death.  

The play followed Grace Fryer, a “Radium Girl” who sued the factory for their negligence before succumbing to the radium poisoning herself. Kenzie Robinson (11) did Grace justice by portraying her with such raw emotion, moving audiences to ache at Grace’s story. Katherine Schaub, another real “Radium Girl”, was played by Amelie Rundell (12). Rundell was incredible in her ability to contrast Katherine’s original cheerful, bubbly personality with her pessimistic and depressed mood after the radium began to claim its victims. Dr. Von Sochocky, the inventor of radium-based paint who also died of exposure, was expertly depicted by Charles Daigle (10). On top of an impressive accent, Daigle was able to portray Von Sochocky’s regret and remorse in a truly captivating way. Arthur Roeder, president of the United States Radium Corporation, was played by John Browning (12). Browning’s performance, once again, was astonishing with Browning perfectly representing Roeder’s guilt and uncertainty. The word talented doesn’t begin to describe the group of students that director Rosemary Witcher has created. Congratulations to the cast and crew of this masterful production!