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James Clemens Theatre to preview ‘Radium Girls’

MADISON – In their first public performance of their latest work, James Clemens Theatre will present the one-act play “Radium Girls” on November 3 in the school auditorium.

Judges will evaluate the Jets’ one-act play and individual/ensemble performances in district competition at Bob Jones High School on Nov. 3-4 in preliminaries for the state-level Walter J. Trumbauer Drama Festival in December.

James Clemens Theatre will present “Radium Girls” by D.W. Gregory, the one-act play “about the li’l guy (or girls in this story) against the evil corporation,” theatre teacher Clint Merritt said. “Although this true story takes place nearly 100 years ago, it is still relevant.”

“When we see an individual battle a corporation, it’s almost always ugly, and the party with more money and power usually wins. However, in our play, thanks to the courage of a few women, the course of history was changed,” Merritt said.

The plot follows health hazards after Madame Curie’s discovery of radium in 1926. Radium, considered a miracle cure, was luminous, and the rage in the 1920s was to paint wristwatch dials with the glowing radium. However, girls who painted the watches became sick with a mysterious disease.

Grace Fryer, a dial painter, sued former employer, Arthur Roeder. Unfortunately, Grace finds herself battling not just with U.S. Radium Corporation but with her family and friends. “Radium Girls” studies American obsessions with health, wealth and the commercialization of science.

Alison Helms plays the lead role of Grace Fryer. Andrew Pharo portrays Arthur Roeder. The 21-member cast has two student directors, and 50-member tech crew has two student technical directors.

Show time for “Radium Girls” will be Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.

The following day on Nov. 4, James Clemens actors will compete in the district Trumbauer competition at Bob Jones. “Two plays from District I Trumbauer held at Bob Jones will move on to compete at state Trumbauer, which will be the first weekend of December at the University of North Alabama,” theatre teacher and director Amy Patel said.

“We will find out the results of district competition on Nov. 4,” Patel said.

The state-level Walter J. Trumbauer Drama Festival will be conducted at UNA in Florence on Nov. 30 through Dec. 2. The one-act that wins at the state-level contest will advance to Southeastern Theatre Conference competition in spring 2018.

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