Dedicated troupers stage ‘Radium Girls’ at SYVU High


Imagine you’re in high school. Now imagine you have six to seven classes’ worth of grueling homework. Now imagine that you have the option of giving up three hours of after-school free time every day for two months. You’d be crazy to do it, right?

Not so for thirty-two dedicated thespians at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. These young actors, including a surprisingly large number of incoming freshmen to offset the graduating seniors, have chosen to give up their time, their dinner breaks, and no small portion of their sanity for a chance to participate in this fall’s drama production, “Radium Girls.”


Under the direction of Jeff McKinnon, the group has expended considerable effort memorizing lines, studying historical background, and staging this fall’s hard-hitting, poignant play.

Gone are the light-hearted Shakespeare and Marx Brothers comedies of last year; “Radium Girls” is a serious drama, slightly unsettling and not for the faint of heart.


Based on a true story, “Radium Girls” tells the tale of a group of girls who work in a radium processing plant in the 1920s, painting watch dials with the luminous radium-based paint. When the destructive effects of the radium on the workers come to light, the girls begin a legal battle with their employers, who continue to deny that the harm is caused by the radium.


Acted brilliantly by a cast starring Thalia Kostman and Cole Eubanks, “Radium Girls” is a bittersweet commentary on morals, motivation, and justice.

 The Theatre Group’s presentation opened on Nov. 8, and continues through Saturday, Nov. 10, with a second showing next Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 15-17. The show starts at 7 p.m. with one brief intermission, during which concessions will be sold by the high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and the High Road to Scotland campaign.


General admission tickets are $8 at the door.