Jul 29, 2014
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'Radium Girls' Come to Chatham High Stage

The play tells the story of a factory in Essex County in the early 20th century.

Lynn Polan, Chatham High School's theater director, told Chatham Patch in March 2011 that she wanted the chance to direct a production of "Radium Girls."

This year, she's done it.

The play by D.W. Gregory tells the story of five factory workers from Orange who sued their employer in a landmark court case which established the right of individual workers who contract occupational diseases to sue their employers.

"There was a factory in New Jersey where they had girls painting glow-in-the-dark watches and clocks with radium-laced paint, and they all got sick and died from radiation poisoning," Polan said.

The women were told the paint was harmless and ingested deadly amounts of radium by licking their paintbrushes to sharpen them. Some also painted their fingernails and teeth with the paint.

The play, Polan said, is "a powerful contemporary" story of young women "battling a big corporation for justice. It is a fast moving drama about greed, wealth, the environment and courage."

The times and dates of the show are 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Chatham Music and Theater Boosters will again sponsor a complimentary dinner for senior citizens dinner following Thursday's show. Please RSVP to Amy Ball at 973-224-2385 by noon Wednesday.

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