The Fall Play: A Light in the Dark


By Esha Banerjee, Section Editor

Come one, come all! This year’s Fall Play will be Radium Girls, a true story about a group of inspiring young women and their fight for justice. The first performance will be on Oct. 28 and will follow a group of factory workers’ trailblazing battle for their rights. 

“I thought the content of the play really speaks to the events happening in the world right now, even though it happened in the 1920s. It seems relevant,” says Ms. Kirsten McKinney, Upper School Director of Theater Arts Productions, about why she chose it as the play. With themes such as workers’ rights and disease, the historical drama holds even more importance today.

The story begins during the first World War in the town of Orange, New Jersey. Marie Curie had just discovered the luminescent element of radium. From curing sickness to increasing beauty, radium was taking over America as a miracle drug. A job in a radium dial factory was coveted, and hundreds of teenage girls labored to produce these radium watches. They painted themselves with the eerily beautiful substance and even ingested it, believing it would make them healthier. But when workers started to fall ill mysteriously, the truth was revealed. The women had to fight for their rights and for the radium corporations to be held accountable. Their courage and perseverance rightfully earned them the title of heroes, a rare status for women in that time.

“As a director, it is important to be able to communicate with the actors and the audience the relevance of the play. Some of the themes in the play seem to be familiar, like not trusting the media and science. The Radium Girls wanted public empathy,” said McKinney. She joined Flint Hill this year, and despite the pandemic, she has fared well during this transition. “I have felt very supported in this transition, as people have been very kind to me,” she said.  Especially since restrictions have started to loosen, this year’s play will definitely be something special. The performance will pay tribute to the historical aspect of the story with its costuming, makeup, and props. There will even be a projection designer for special effects!

Junior Riya Nilawar, participating in the play, says, “The play last year was all virtual so it wasn’t as enjoyable. It’s a lot easier now, like with understanding stage cues and delivering lines. This year I’m glad we have the chance to really perform.” Without a doubt, this year’s fall play will showcase the talent and dedication of Flint Hill’s cast, crew, and director. After the darkness of last year due to COVID, Radium Girls will be sure to shine.