The Seton Hall University theatre opens the 2014-2015 theatre season with a production of D.W. Gregory’s “Radium Girls” and brings the audience back to the late 1920s to experience a story about greed, illness and social injustice.
The play is directed by the chairperson of the Department of Communication and The Arts, Deirdre Yates, and performed by Seton Hall University students. The show will run for three nights, Oct. 23, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 24 and 26 at 2 p.m. at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.
“It’s a very impactful play. It’s based on real events and people so it makes it important for the actors and director to show the humanity of these people and do justice to their story,” Yates said. “The audience will be able to identify and empathize with these characters which is what will impact those who listen and see this powerful story.”
“Radium Girls” is inspired by a true story about social injustice and the struggle between the welfare of workers and the prosperity of a corporation. The drama is about dial painters who worked for the U.S. Radium Corporation in Orange, N.J., and became sick. The story examines the struggle of these women and shows how it led to the change of labor laws.
“This play is a production that will truly speak to you as an audience member,” SHU junior and cast member Kyle Micale said. “You will be able to understand and feel the emotions that all of the characters feel: anger, love, happiness, sadness, hope, regret. This play is truly a picture of what it means to be human.”
Junior Samantha Scelzo who plays the lead, Grace Fryer, said the story is important and its message empowers her and will empower the members of the audience too.
The members of the cast rehearsed four times a week for this production. The majority of the students in the show play multiple characters which is challenging, but Yates and Professor Peter Reader use the lighting, costumes, and hours of rehearsal to highlight the distinction.
“The story is very cathartic and intriguing so the audience will definitely enjoy the story,” SHU junior and cast member Ben Yates said.
The play was also part of the Freshman Reading project which Yates said will allow those who have read the play to see how words on a page can come to life on a stage.
“It’s an introspective historical spectacle,” SHU senior and cast member Edwin Kindler said. “This play makes you look inside yourself. It’s historical, as it did happen in Orange, and it’s a spectacle of a wide variety of people who the audience can relate to.”
Nisha Desai can be reached at email@example.com.