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St. Francis student cast to perform 'Radium Girls'

Play tells of women affected by painting watches with radium

St. Francis High School Theatre will present “Radium Girls” at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 to 12 at its Kuhn Francis Arts Center in Wheaton, according to a news release.

Based on a true story, “Radium Girls,” directed by Brandon Lewis, is about a quiet, rules follower, Grace Fryer, who realizes her working conditions are unsafe and decides to fight for justice.

In the mid-1920s, luminous watches were trending, but the women factory workers who were painting the watch dials were poisoned and dying from their exposure to the radium in the paint.

Their employers told them the paint was safe and the girls were encouraged to use their lips to create points in their brushes in order to paint with fine detail. For fun, some women even painted their faces and nails with the luminous paint.

Fryer’s employer, Arthur Roeder, is said to believe that the radium, recently discovered by Madame Curie to be effective in shrinking tumors, could not make his employees sick.

While Fryer pursues the case, she is challenged not only by Roeder, but also by her family and friends who fear she will fail and a backlash will ensue.

If you go

WHAT: Students stage “Radium Girls”

WHERE: St. Francis High School Theatre’s Kuhn Francis Arts Center, 2130 W. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 10 to 12

COST: $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors


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