DMC Seniors Perform in First Student-Directed Play
DMC seniors tackled a tough subject matter when they decided to produce Radium Girls this December, the first ever DMC play directed only by students. The show was produced completely by the Class of 2021 as a senior showcase. Seniors Max Olsen and Mio Legaspi directed the play.
“Our class has a lot of students interested in theater,” said Max, “and we realized we could involve all seniors who wanted a part in the play. We ended up with thirteen actors who played more than 30 different roles.”
Radium Girls is set in the 1920s and inspired by the true story of Grace Fryer, a dial painter in the U.S. Radium Corporation’s watch dial factory, where workers are mysteriously falling ill and dying. Dial painters were encouraged to lick their paintbrushes to keep the points sharp, each time ingesting small amounts of the radium-based paint. The play follows Fryer as she seeks her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, who cannot bring himself to believe radium is causing the rash of illnesses in his factory.
Roeder transforms from a man focused on money to a man trying to unburden himself. Max says, “The universal truth connecting to the gospel is the need for forgiveness. The play ends with Roeder having an opportunity to talk with Grace, but he doesn’t take it. That tension can push the audience to think about what they need to reconcile in their own lives.”
Max and Mio selected the play to showcase the students’ acting skills. Max said, “We wanted to show we can go beyond character actors that make you laugh to really bring home an emotional show.”
In the year 2020, producing the show as a senior class took on extra meaning. “It was a creative outlet and project to focus on. When everything is changing and different, we could still work with our peers on something meaningful and beautiful,” Mio said.
The senior class completed all elements of the show from acting and directing to building the set, costumes, makeup, and lighting design. This is the first year in DMC history that two plays were performed in the same year. Students performed The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe in April.