Wednesday, February 27, 2013
THE RED FERN THEATER COMPANY PRESENTS
New York Premiere
By Shirley Lauro
Directed by Melanie Moyer Williams
The Theater at the 14th Street Y
Marie Salomea Skłodowska Curie, together with Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel received the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery and analysis of radioactivity, and she alone the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for isolating Radium and Polonium. It was work of brilliance and extreme perseverance.
See below for videos with Marie Curie
Nevertheless she faced severe career obstacles, mostly because she was a woman, partly because she was Polish.
Marie Salomea Skłodowska became a student of Pierre Curie and he was her first champion. They fell in love and were married. They had two children, (one of whom, Irene, later also won a Nobel Prize). Then, while crossing the street, Pierre was killed by a passing horse and carriage.
THE RADIANT begins as Mme Curie tries to deal with the aftermath of his death. She is assisted and encouraged by a former student, a brilliant Paul Langevin, who is Catholic, and married. They have a passionate affair.
THE RADIANT is a serious, distinguished play that credibly portrays the energy, persistence, commitment to surviving and becoming a success, brilliance, dedication to science, personality and passion of Mme Curie.
The play is very nicely cast, the simple set is well dressed, the hair and makeup and costuming well done, to bring to vivid life a re-creation of this great woman and her work and her affair with Paul, and the milieu of their lives in the years after 1906.
Photo by Michael J. Palma
Photo by Eric Roffman
In part because of its integrity; in part because of the interest and importance of its story and the brilliance of its characters, this is a play to be seen. It's interesting and entertaining.
Some relatively minor issues: The first act has a lot of information to convey about who Marie Curie is and why we should care about her -- it's very interesting, but still quite a lot of exposition mixed into the drama. The whole play could use a bit more humor. And the final scene very satisfyingly ties up a lot of loose ends, but it is something of an anti-climax, and a bit of a downer (but not enough to make this a tear-jerker).
A play like this would do well to find a long life visiting college theaters, community productions, and perhaps a residency at some big-city playhouses, where it could entertain and inform -- and provide a valuable and enjoyable service to many people.
The Radiant performs Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8:00pm, Sundays at 3:00pm.
There is one additional performance Monday March 4, at 7:00pm.
Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at
1859, May 15 -- Birth of Pierre Curie
1867, Nov 7 -- Birth of Marie Curie
1891 -- Marie's Parisian studies begin
1895, Mar -- Pierre receives his doctorate
1895, Jul 26 -- Marriage
1897 -- Birth of daughter Irene
1903 -- Nobel Prize in Physics
1906, Apr 19 -- Death of Pierre Curie (at 46, in his prime intellectually)
1906, Nov 5 -- Marie's inaugural lecture at the Sorbonne (first by any woman)
1907 - 1911 -- Roughly the dates of the affair between Marie Curie and Paul Langevin
1910 -- Publication of Marie's textbook "Treatise on Radioactivity"
1911 -- Nobel Prize in Chemistry
1934, Jul 4 -- Death of Marie Curie (at 66)
Note: Marie & Pierre Curie's granddaughter, Hélène Joliot (see video below), married Langevin's grandson, Michel Langevin.
(Note... I could not (yet?) find any video with Marie Curie actually speaking.)
THE SOLVAY CONFERENCE 1927 (VOICE-OVER)
Brief glimpses of
Mme Curie -- @ 2:00 and 2:21
Paul Langevin -- @ 2:25
Einstein -- @ 2:29
MARIE CURIE (SILENT)
MARIE CURIE -- BACKGROUND MUSIC BUT NO VOICES
A BIOGRAPHY OF MARIE CURIE WITH MANY VIDEOS (IN GERMAN)
MME CURIE -- THE CHEMISTRY (IN FRENCH)
(The modern labs at Saclay are very attractive. Marie et Pierre had to scrounge for every bit of equipment, all their supplies, and even a place to use as their laboratory.)
EVE CURIE TALKS ABOUT HER MOTHER'S POLAND
MARIE SKLODOWSKA CURIE'S GRANDDAUGHTER - HELENE JOLIOT-LANGEVIN (IN FRENCH)
SCHOLARLY LECTURES ABOUT MME CURIE