Radium is first discovered in 1898, and immediately hailed as a world-changing scientific miracle. Thirty years of widespread public obsession later, five gravely ill ex-radium workers successfully sue their former employer. Eventually, these “Radium Girls” will inspire similar lawsuits and prove a watershed for labor rights, but first, they make headlines as the first diagnosed victims of radium poisoning. After three decades of the element’s ubiquity. What was going on all that time?
RADIUM PROTOTYPE is an in-progress presentation of a new untitled show about the early 20th century’s dream discovery and the women for whom it became a nightmare. Using a kaleidoscopic range of primary sources and original work, RADIUM PROTOTYPE covers radium’s first twenty-five years: a story of scientific achievement gone amok, humankind’s hubris in the face of new technology, the pitfalls of public phenomena, and the perils of consumer culture.
Created and directed by Talia Feldberg
Created and performed by Grace Bernardo*, Patrick Dunning, Elizabeth Fetterolf, and Nora Kaye
*Equity Member appearing with permission of Actors Equity Association without benefit of an Equity contract in this Off-Off Broadway production (Equity Approved Showcase).