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Cast and Crew of ‘Radium Girls’ prepare for a week of performance and entertainment

Radium Girls is in the ticket office from Nov. 10 to Nov. 11

‘Radium Girls’ is in the spotlight at Smoky for friends, family, and audience to enjoy. The Smoky Hill Theater program has carefully planned out another production to set the stage with a storyline that has not been executed at Smoky before.

“We have this the ability to share the story, and it’s such a great empowering story about women in the 1920s who didn’t have much of a voice at the time–who struggled hard to have a voice– and it changed workplace laws in the US ever since,” Performing Arts Coordinator, Tim Browns said, “And it was these young women, these teen girls, that worked in a radium factory that got poisoned by their job. Most of them died and then through that, things have changed and people have a voice, so it’s a very powerful play.”

Tim Brown as the director of ‘Radium Girls’ and other productions put out by the theater department has been honored as the Colorado Drama Teacher of the Year by the National Thespian Society. With his active involvement in the Smoky community, others have picked up on it as well.

“There’s an organization called the National Thespian Society, it’s a national organization. They also have chapters in every state, so there’s a Colorado Thespian Society. The state chapter votes [for] all the theater teachers in the state of which there are hundreds. They take applications in the spring and then they vote on the teacher and they vote on one a year. And so you’re added to their hall of fame, which is kind of a big honor,” Brown said, “So in terms of directing shows, and then teaching theater classes and teaching tech theater, that’s kind of what that organization encompasses; people who teach theater to students at the high school level. Being voted by your peers, that’s probably about the highest honor you can get so that you have your peers going ‘Hey, we like what you do.'”

Brown believes that the state-of-the-art performances that are put out by the program are also a result of student contribution significantly.

“We’ve had a little bit of experience and every one of them there are positives of the students that do just such a great job,” Brown said, “I had already selected another play in in the spring and then I had a group of senior girls who came to me and said, ‘We really think you need to do this. We have the talent for it,’ [and] I’m glad they brought it to my attention, I could see there was such passion for it.”

The cast and crew of ‘Radium Girls’ have proven their dedication and commitment to be a product of success on the stage.

“I play Marie Curie, she’s a famous scientist and pretty much she’s advocating for radio and saying that it’s a good thing. But as it turns out in the show, it’s not really a good thing,” Naimah Alaniz (10) said, “I’ve been in drama club since last year, so I just found out about [Radium Girls] from going to the meetings since I’m on drama board I already knew a little bit about it.”

Students like Alaniz have had to balance an academically demanding schedule amongst the “hell week” of it all.

“We have pretty late rehearsals towards eight or nine o’clock and we just run through the show with all of our tech [crew] for the first time. And then we do teasers on Thursday for the school and then we have our performances,” Alaniz said.

Other cast members share their inputs of the week prior to opening night during rehearsals.

“I am C.B. Charlie Lee, the Vice President of the Radium Company,” Dante Hawkins (10) said, “I’m feeling pretty good about it. I feel like I’ve got my role down, it’s my first big production at the school. I was in the 1x last year, but that wasn’t as much tech and rehearsal as it is.”

To be a part of the play was a process in itself for cast members like Hawkins, auditioning for his role.

“For auditioning, I’m in acting class and we just basically workshopped our auditions there, and I got feedback from it,” Hawkins said, “From that audition, I made it into the play and then we got callbacks where we had to read certain scenes. We had to act it out and see who best fit roles and so that’s how that came out.”

In the midst of it all, setting up the narrative to be told in itself was a process for all groups to fully perform a well-functioning production: the director, cast, and technical crew.

It was inevitable for ‘Radium Girls’ to come across minor mishaps.

“We’ve dealt with a few issues with trying to figure out blocking for the show because we are doing a kind of unique set. So right now, we’re trying to figure out how to make the scenes work the best that they can,” Alaniz said.

But the theater department proves these issues otherwise.

“We plan for [issues]. I always say this, like theater, things are gonna happen. Something happens with a costume that rips, something happens with a prop that breaks, something happens with a microphone that doesn’t come off, ” Brown said, “Think about those and solve the problem. I’m empowering you to solve the problem the best you can as a professional, what would you do in the real world, you know, you’re going to encounter problems.”

Many things may occur behind the scenes– including the technical crew who are in charge of directing the little details that make the show run.

“I’m an assistant stage manager,” Merrick Weber (11) said, “We put our set together, we put lights together, make sure that we have our cues together, we set up actors with microphones. There are lots of other jobs like costumes and makeup that you can do during the show nights and also house jobs handling money and handling customers.”

The crew of the cast and crew in any show are vital for the production to run functionally.

“You really can’t have a show without either your [technical crew] or your actors. So, you know, if either side falters, the show just can fall apart,” Weber said.

The emphasis on teamwork and communication in each participant involved makes any shows like ‘Radium Girls’ possible.

“Regularly we’ll have notes and meetings after run-throughs and we’ll try and cooperate and make sure that we all understand each other,” Weber said.

The assembly of characters, set designs, garments, and overhead lights become a clear reflection of the student-driven work and leadership that run the production. As a result, the cast and crew bring an account of voices and stories to reach the audience. The team mentality and trust factors are examples of a few components to make it all happen.

“For me, it’s like I light the match, and I let the fire go and then the students just go with it,” Brown said, “Trust yourself, trust each other, work hard and you’ll see good results.”

‘Radium Girls’ is out this weekend. For more information, click here.

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