The Radiant

by  Shirley Lauro

Full Length Play, Drama  /  2m, 2f

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

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 2f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

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.
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Accolades

  • Winner! TCG Edgerton Award: “One of 40 new American plays to watch.”
    Winner! The Sloan Science Foundation's Awards for Commission and Production Enhancement

Reviews

REVIEWS

“[…] 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

Keywords

Illness/Health, Love

Considerations

Performing Groups

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

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1910s / WWI
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: 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.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

2m, 2f
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. 
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Cast Attributes

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

Casting Notes

* 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.

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Authors

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 Y ...

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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. 

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