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The Radiant - Full Length Play, Drama

The Radiant

Shirley Lauro

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Full Length Play, Drama

2m, 2f

ISBN: 9780573702914

Set one hundred years ago in Paris, The Radiant centers on the true, tempestuous, and love-torn life of Madame Marie Curie.

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play


Period, Docudrama/Historic

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 1910s / WWI

Settings Of Play - Paris, Normandy, Provence, France; and Stockholm, Sweden. Ideally, the set is not realistic but a cinematic space or landscape which is fluid and can easily become several different locations for Marie Curie as she moves through her journey in the play.


Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Period Costumes


Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


From Off-Broadway

Winner! TCG Edgerton Award: “One of 40 new American plays to watch.”
Winner! The Sloan Science Foundation's Awards for Commission and Production Enhancement
Set one hundred years ago in Paris, The Radiant centers on the true, tempestuous, and love-torn life of Madame Marie Curie. Widowed at thirty-nine, with two young children to raise and support, she becomes involved in a scandalous affair with her young married assistant, an affair which rocks Paris and nearly costs her her career - and her life. But, she survives this and the great bias against women scientists throughout Europe then and goes on to discover and isolate radium, earn two Nobel Prizes, and revolutionize the world of science forever, ushering in “The Atomic Age” and the first cure for cancer.


“[…] A thrilling play with complex characters trying to make life work. Shirley [Lauro] is one of the very best playwrights at work in America!” - Estelle Parsons

"The Radiant casts a glow on Marie Curie ... The playwright gives her stubbornness, determination, single-mindedness, [and] passion..." - The Miami Herald Tribune

"Award winning playwright Shirley Lauro's exploration of the scientist and woman [Marie Curie] comes to life ... Wonderful and highly appreciated by audiences." - Around Town - Miami

"The sciencephobe need not worry: the science is handled quickly and deftly in 'The Radiant' by Shirley Lauro ..." - TotalTheater.com

"Shirley Lauro has written an intriguing play about the behind-the-scenes life of two-time Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie. The drama juxtaposes her laboratory discovery of radium in metal with her romantic entanglement that caused a scandal and threatened her career." - New York Calling ABOUT TOWN

"... Lauro's Curie has a steely, even forbidding exterior of determination and self-control that masks a raging swirl of insecurity, shyness, mourner's grief, and need ..." - South Florida Review

"Lauro['s] Curie is not the sanitized, saintly Greer Garson. This pioneering woman projects a curt, off putting exterior forged out of determination and self-control - which conceals a maelstrom of shyness, fear and heartache... and a girlish relief in the rare moments that [she] lets down her guard." - Variety.com

The Radiant received its world premiere production at The New Theatre in Miami, FL in 2011. The play premiered in New York City at the Red Fern Theatre in February of 2013, under the direction of Melanie Moyer Williams. 



2m, 2f


Reduced casting (Doubling Possible), Expandable casting, Flexible casting, Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)


* indicates characters who are designed to be portrayed by one actor. Concept: for MARIE, they are the outside world: men of power surrounding her, with whom she must relate and/or struggle. CHIEF PAYMASTER and KELVIN are in opposition to her. WILBOIS, sympathetic, but forced to bear bad news.

MARIE SKLODOWSKA CURIE - Polish, but in France many years. Late 30’s - mid-40s. Ethereal beauty—ash blond, small, graceful, piercing eyes, intense manner reveals brilliance of a genius. A unique, complex woman of great strength, drive. Can be severe, steely. “Suffers no fools gladly”. Hides extreme shyness, high emotionality behind exterior demeanor. Dresses in black clothes of period, lighter blouse in country and through Act II. Has cough, possibly some nervous mannerisms.
KATARINA - 17. Marie's niece from Warsaw. Pretty, funny, strong spirited but not contemporary teen—rather of an era when young people were ruled by adults. Loveable, impulsive, dramatic, but tries to contain herself. Clothing: blouse with possible touch of Polish style embroidery, dark longish skirt of period.
PAUL LANGEVIN - early 30’s. Handsome, youthful, French. Brilliant but naïve, sensual man. Repressed, yearns to break out. White shirt, vest, student type jacket. Later in dark suit/trousers.
*CHIEF PAYMASTER OF THE SORBONNE - Middle-age. Epitome of bureaucrat, a lecher. Possible pince-nez, vest, time-piece in vest. French accent.
*PROFESSOR WILBOIS - Late middle-age. Physics professor at Sorbonne. Kindly, loveable. Somewhat absent minded—maybe a stain or two on clothing, missing button on vest, etc. From Alsace-Lorraine, possibly has slight French/German accent.
*LORD KELVIN - Middle—aged. Physics Professor, University of Edinburgh. A Scotsman (either Scottish or English accent.). Possibly reddish hair. Pompous, blustery, condescending. Possibly smokes pipe; possibly in clothing with Scotch plaid/argyle design touches. Elegant in appearance.

*Characters designed to be portrayed by one actor. 
Shirley Lauro

Shirley Lauro

Shirley Lauro’s The Radiant enjoyed its World Premiere in March, 2011, at New Theatre, Miami, starring Angelica Torn as Marie Curie. The play will mark its New York off-Broadway premiere in winter, 2013. All Through the Night enjoyed its World Premiere in Chicago, receiving a Jeff Nomination, as “Best New Play of the Year," with subsequent productions at Red Fern Theater (off-Broadway), The Living ... view full profile

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