Gorham High School’s (GHS) fall play this year was D.W. Gregory’s “Radium Girls.” The production opened November 17, with a total of four shows over the weekend. The show was directed by GHS teacher Josie Tierney-Fife.
With a cast of 14 actors, and a crew of 13 members, the show discussed an actual series of events that happened in the 1920s, when young women (now referred to as Radium Girls) were poisoned by radium. The owners of the company they worked for, U.S. Radium Corporation, denied involvement.
The story follows the chain of events experienced by one of the young women, Grace Fryer (portrayed by senior Hannah Beliveau), who was hurt by the radium poisoning. Fryer quit her job but tried to sue the company and her former employer, Arthur Roeder (portrayed by junior Isaac Martel).
In addition to being harmful to the girls, the radium was also being used to help cancer patients and was being sold in a liquid solution to help vitality. Roeder was caught in the decision between helping himself by continuing to sell the radium dials and the well-being of his workers.
His internal and external battles with his emotions and other members of his company were played out as Fryer’s health continues to worsen. The play ends with a leap to the future and Roeder thinking back but not being able to remember the girls’ faces.
With strong talent among the performers, as well as the crew, the production was entertaining, informative, and pleasing to the audience. The acting done by all members of the cast was phenomenal and emotionally involved.
The attention to detail involved, such as the Radium Girls using their mouths to point their paint brushes (which was the leading cause of their deaths), enhanced the performance. Although a somber and devastating topic, the show was a success.