Out of the Dark- and Into the Brightness of Hope

clockFlashbacks are powerful, can be a bit blurry, yet some elements of time, past and present, often appear.  Yet, when they carry a sentiment of emotion – they are like a steamroller.  An the end of the 2015-2016 school year, I remember helping a class read through the script of a play, Radium Girls, for Ms. Brownie’s Drama course.  I was interested at the background,  but at the time did not have time to followup on the nature of the play any further.

Fast forward to November 30th, as well as December 01, 2016, and what a seed that had been planted!  Seeing the promotional scene of Radium Girls at the 11th and 12th grade class meeting, then attending the first night, (December 01, 2016) you instantly are aware of the format of a play that stands out, something totally different, and for MANY reasons that follow this production, as well as the impact and it can have on the audience.  So much so, I am still here researching the details of who Marie Curie, Grace Fryer ,  and U.S. Radium Corporation this evening (yes way later than 10:00 PM).

Opening nights, you tend to expect a small showing and after the privilege of seeing 5+ years of productions, that is the norm for sure. However, in counting 65 attendees at third call, not taking into consideration the 8+ more that arrived to the show, this was a great voice that was being added for a first show.  As an usher, you tend to look for more different aspects of the show from the very beginning, however so slight, but noticing the impressive swell for a first official show, on a Thursday, for a totally different venue, you couldn’t help but be relieved and excited.

With the physical programs, you notice so many takeaways later.  What should have been obvious from the beginning, was not when you take a closer look at the covers, which you will notice s you receive one, see if you notice the aspects of the titles as well as the great illustrations and how they represent specific aspects of the production in a great light.

Even in a preliminary class setting, you notice the set of Radium Girls.  Polished, efficient, and on point perfectly.  Catching the right light, seeing the ease of the movements thanks to a great Stage and Tech crew, this set shines wset-lookith perfection, exactness, rawness, efficiency, and accuracy.  From the coloring of the siding of the standout factory windows, that seem to catch the light amid a dismal situation, to the rawness of the wood that resembles even a Crucible-like production you find yourself marveling at the set quite often.

The music that accompanies the lines at the intermission, amazingly in line with the costumes for this era as well – it clicks without a hitch.  The programs matching the dueling personalities of reporters and newspapers, LOVE.  Being able to connect the design of the original ticket to the workings of the science and physiology that comes out of the busy-cityproduction, you realize there are many details that come to you not only during the production, but that follow you out of the theatre.  The set, background scenes during smooth transitions, and music, you feel the heartbeat, excitement, of an era of discovery.

Weighing on your heart is the weight of decisions made that directly impact history itself, whether occurring in Mexico or outside of this country, and you realize the possible weight of these implications internationally.  The cast you recognize as being able to bring home these possibilities of morality that infect every one that comes into contact with them, just as the ‘radium girls’ were infected due to the callousness of a society that just wanted fame, lacked integrity due to the “wantingness” of success, and at the sake of so many lives to achieve this.  This is a message that resounds and often surfaces in many countries around the world, and for a strong cast to pull it off is felt from your heart, to your mind when you exit this performance.

Expectations are hard to defy, and when you are used to a single musical every year, confronting that “norm” with an alternative is often a steep bill to fill.  Yet, Radium Girls does that from so many aspects; from a detailed, simple, yet exquisite set, to a cast that builds the momentum of historical implications, to a tech, makeup, and costume cast that allows this whole education of one of the most vital reveals in history, blended all together, Radium Girls shines in the way it is supposed to.  From yellow journalism, to the threats of muckraking, you as an attendance member are allowed to seek through the unfolding events and find a truth for yourself, thanks to the countless talents you see on and off the stage.  That seems worth the ticket itself and to invest in such an opportunity is beyond priceless for a risk in adding a new production to the year.

Without further ado, specific accolades have been waiting “just off the stage”:

Adrian – Without knowing Adrian, you will recognize the dead seriousness of his personality and how he finds a middle ground to unbury a consciousness he had tried hard to repress.  His bad guy images certainly seems easy for him to pull off, yet as his callousness peels away, you seem him able to manage this perfectly as the production progresses.  Knowing him personally, you wonder why he has not attempted a lead before, and realize the talent he is capable as a relatively new lead to the ASF theatre production world.  Representing Arthur Roeder was a masterpiece and the stream of consciousness that results.

Ana Paula – With her ability to represent a consciousness as a factory worker and doctor that brings justice to the situation U.S. Radium Corporation dances around.  With a sureness, certainty and confidence she has brought to stage before, you are relived and glad to see Ana Paula back on the stage.  Yet as a supporter of Katherine Kiley and worker, she shows her versatility in a variety of situations.

Anna Victoria – Representing the voice and tone of an era welcoming the effects of radium initially, Amna’s tall stature matches the power she brings to this period of discovery.  She certainly helps build the false hopes radium brought to the world, as well as the familial aspects of elements, science, and family in one complete circle.  Excellent delivery of content to the plot and the era at hand.

Analise – The straight forward, no nonsense demeanor that becomes the face of the U.S. Radium Corporation only takes a moment to be 100% dead on or 100% not fitting.  Analise, as a clerk representing U.S. Radium Corporation, and worker from within, is able to represent how you would expect a representative of the corporation to react in the face of allegations and the beginning of the end, of such a corporation.  Professional, swift, and reactionary.  Well done.

Andrea – Blending in seems like an easy job sure.  Again, knowing Andrea, you are surprised to see her on stage and yet after seeing her, you are like, why not before?  Excited and proud to see her do an bang up job of being a member of this production, and able to support the tone perfectly during this era.

Anabella – Pushing, demanding, reconciling deep with the tragedy unfolding, and being proactive?  Not a difficult thing to do amid a stream if “normality” as portrayed by a large company.  yet, Annabella shows the gusto and resolve as a character and a dedicated Kathryn Schaub.  She pulls off the ability to not be  forgettable throughout this unfolding drama, as the corporation would like her her to easily forgotten.  Annabella’s persistence is easy to spot immediately – and is constant throughout the show.

CamilleYes.  All you need to know is yes.  Literally seeing Camille one day in an SAT test, I thought, very pleasant, optimistic, friendly, QUIET.  Her ability on the stage in representing icon Grace Fryer towards building a consciousness? YES.  Camille is able to put your heartstrings, consciousness, and considerations of two sides of a story centerstage and keeps you there the whole time.  Kudos kudos kudos.

Caroline – Tabloid reporter Nancy Jane Harlan is easily to identify with her projected voiced announcements.  The ability to serve as narrator, historian, and competitive tabloid newsie, Caroline brings the hilarity, seriousness, and competition for the real story throughout the whole production.  You sense a Hollywood style of gusto in calling the unfolding events, and a performance that draws you in to the next, then the next, and the next scene successfully and noticing the details that represent a myriad of qualities that you look for in every appearance she makes.

Emiliano – His quiet demeanor is school is not the same character you see on stage. Playing two sides of a coin in handling U.S. Radium Corporations affairs, as well as offering criticisms to the revelations, Emiliano moves forward in the plot effortlessly as his contributions as an actor.  One of many reason why events unfold as they do, Emiliano’s presence is very felt on stage and flashbacks of his contributions in Fame still come back as well.

 Giulia – Giulia’s ability to support the plot is right on cue.  It is easy to say this is a lead role and others well not so much.  No the case.  Giulia pulls off the reactions perfectly the way you’d expect them to be with breaking news.  It is rewarding to see her as part of this cast in supporting the momentum of this production and worth looking for throughout the events.

Ingrid – Seeing Ingrid in costume was truly a shock as she wears the era very well.  Her confident, era-driven image is reinforced in her straightforward manner, costume, and poise.  Excellent delivery and representation of a foregone era, represented in just the way you would expect.  Representing an era is not easy to do, yet Ingrid makes it look easy easy easy.

Jorge – being able to transition through the steps, expectations, and devotion of a man to the American Dream is pulled off perfectly, in step with the character of Grace Fryer.  Typical comments you’d expect from a man in situations of marital consideration, as well as trying to relate to the typical reactions, to the expectations of a breadwinner during this era, you get upset, sympathize and can easily find yourself in the era with the Jorge based on his delivery.  Well done.

Lucia – You find yourself, if you are aware of Lucia’s voice, pulling for her every step of thew way in this production as she dodges, runs, and overcomes the hurdles put in front of her during this production.  Her determination and eye for success off stage as well as on stage, it can’t be missed, even when you are not looking for it.  Glad to have Lucia as the savior of being Katherine Kiley, and pulled off to the “T”.

Mariana – Again, alongside Ingrid, Mariana is able to pull off the attire, feeling, tone, and demeanor of a bygone era.  The light accent, professionalism, and discovery that is exciting at the beginning of this era is well represented – and the poise she exhibits is unmistakable for the tone you’d expect of one Marie Curie.  Matching the costume, Mariana produces a confidence in her discovery you feel immediately.  Soft-spoken in a first production, we want to be able to hear her even louder to hear the accent and personality she brings to this role, and am positive with the next performances, you will relish what she brings to this role.

Marion – Determined, unswayable, and stubborn.  Marion is able to push through these qualities to every audience member, and does not back down as Anna Fryer.  I kept looking around to try and find my mother in the audience, and knowing this character was pushing for the nest option for her daughter as was possible.  She plays an excellent pawn in the battle between corporation and consciousness.  LOVE.

Matthew – Wow.  When the guys are bad, they are bad and Matthew brings this home as the board tilts always in favor of the corporation.  He has much to add to the cast, and though at times his voice was difficult to hear, you realize this is all in detecting the volume needed for a production.  As he finds the volume needed to get across his sentiments in the next few shows, you will definitely want to observe his cockiness, pushiness, and determination to be the corporation man.  His reactions, delivery, and sureness in what is right for the girls and a corporation, he is able to bring this home from beginning to end.  He is able to definitely represent the movement of an era, and do so well.

Olivia – She had me at the spotlight.  Through the amazing dialogue of Annabella, you see Olivia as the perfect consciousness of an era gone wrong.  She is able to position her emotions in front of an audience that make you feel the very wrongdoings that represented so much loss.  Slight dialogue but volumes in representation, Olivia is able to say a thousand things without a single word – and WOW is just an overall understatement and becomes MUCH MORE than just a frequently-mentioned Irene Rudolph– named throughout the production.

Pablo – Go. – With the ability to project his voice, charisma, and competition as a tabloid reporter and narrator alongside Caroline, the physical reactions, energy, and ability is evident from the first moment Pablo – Jack Youngwood, steps on stage.  You have confidence in the history, facts, and developments, even with controversial reporting you see as he well represents.  The ability to bring humor, sarcasm, and wit are a small list of the success he brings to this role, as you would expect in seeing Pablo in many amazing roles to this point.  It is difficult to imagine any production without these qualities he brings to the stage.

Pablo Gu. – When the men are bad, they are really bad.  Pablo brings his bad boy self to full fruition on stage and clings to it.  He is able to bring every audience member through the sureness of a corporation that could do know wrong.  Projecting his voice well as if knowing the exact volume needed for the mics, working through the very exacting expressions to emphasize his position and confidence, Pablo enables the plot to move forward in exact moments every step of the way.  Crucial to the production and exacting, you know why he is in this role from the very beginning.

Paola – Bringing home the convictions that Arthur Green feels but never voices, Paola does a great job in representing an overall consciousness and caught between the tabloid news.  Wanting to her her voice on a higher level, the consequent shows will enable this for sure.  Wearing and modeling the era just as you’d expect it, Paola embodies the role of women of the time amazingly, and begins to bring the voice of women to a peak not usually attempted VERY WELL.

Pedro – Working the angle as a caring doctor, as well as manipulating both client and corporation, to the iconic letter writer.  Pedro’s energy could ooze out in any role, and it a welcome site to see hands down.  His confidence, personality, and sureness are assets in all respects.  One can’t get the cowbell image out of their minds if you saw Fame (sorry) – however, his energy and possibility are there, and a welcome site to such an era-specific piece.

Sebastian – Perfect fit.  One can’t picture anyone else representing the accent, representation, and consciousness of such as a role other than Sebastian.  Moments of softness occurred occasionally which is just a byproduct of testing the vocal waters on a first night show, however, the conviction the doctor comes to comes full circle and is represented beyond well through Sebastian’s ability. His ability to bring a consciousness through his methods of misleading, then self discovery are quite evident, and well enabled through his confident role. He represents what could have been so well, it is impossible to not feel the helplessness at the end with his role.

Sofia – Could you imagine another type of boss ?  I for one, could not.  Pushy, demanding, overpowering, it is all there at Sofia’s fingertips and she used that position well.  Slight at times in her volume of voice, again just a byproduct of a first night show.  Her strictness and rigidness is played to the role and done well.  One can imagine many examples of such factory-style managers due to her nailing of such a role.

Stefan – As one of the elements of consciousness with Radium Girls, Stefan plays this role well.  Belting out his volume and findings, representing with surety his findings, and pushing forward with others as a minority for justice, he gives this role to the audience easily.  His conclusions will remain with you based on his sure-footedness demeanor.

Yankel – Swimming against the tide and representing the minority consciousness is not an easy thing to do.  Yet Yankel does just that and keeps pushing forward, and the audience feels it.  Making a great team with Lucia, he easily represents the saving grace of the women in the factory, and provides the debate-influenced confidence to keep moving forward.  Thank goodness a knight in the court is represented in Yankel’s role.

Often what occurs off screen is so powerful, it propels those on screen forward with much velocity.  Having the privilege to see Daniela, Alani, Andrea, Roberta, Karla, Adriana, and Susanne ‘s work in makeup before going on stage, and the success it did in representing the characters?  A crucial element to the success of this production.  Add to this the exact way you’d want to see the types of apparel for this area thanks to Tamara and Roman – VERY well done.   With the props that existed thanks to Mateo and and Loic, all seemed exactly as it would appear in real life.  With the endless sacrifices of time and energy given by Teruhi and Hugo, it is no wonder that such a production would be exciting to see and discover.  From Andres and Patricio implementing a new sound to the set, to Isabel, Rodolfo, Alan, Andrea, Julia, Alberto, Miguel, Sebastian, Enrique, and Bevin to insure that all on stage and the exact lighting, paired with cues occurred – excellent job all around. One can not underestimate the amazingness of an excellent Tech Club to allow a first run to go as smoothly as this did.  

It takes much consideration to take risk, and change.  It is exciting to see a director  as Ms Brownie take on so many challenges, risks, and changes in one new scheduled production, yet, allowing the talented possibilities in the above-mentioned to have another chance i the year to produce their talents?  Thank goodness.  So much that went right and so little that went wrong is a huge Kudos for all the risks willing to be taken, to amplify the talents and possibilities available.  Thank you.

Not sure how many of you know how lucky we are to have as a inter and Master Electrician, Jose Herrera, but one cannot imagine anyone else behind the board than Jos himself.  For me, it is not a production without seeing him peering over that control room with Hugo.

Hard to reconcile the amazing support you receive with you see the Upper School Head at a first night production, but yes, there he was and his excitement at seeing how many people were at a first show?  Priceless.  The parents in support of such a major change and the roles their actors/actresses play is a vital part of this production and this was certainyl the case in this first night run.  The companies Moms and Dads as well as backbone supporters: Leslie Tattersfield, Daniel Lowe, Bevin Mick, Nat Soto, Su Kretschmer, Teruhi Yoshioka, Jennifer Long, Chase McIver, Laurent Walters, Rosanna Cesarman, and Kenneth Dawson – the show must go on and does thanks to these supporters.


With two shows left, you will find yourself at a complete miscalculation if you miss this production – bringing the darkness of innovation, into the light of education through everyone involved.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
This entry was posted in Drama Productions, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s