ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie
Apparently after Pierre's death, Marie found it difficult to press on with her research. The scandal surrounding the Langevin affair nearly eclipsed her.
Alda has a keen sense of character and, with the help of an excellent cast, brings the story vividly to life. According to Alda and as interpreted by Gunn, Marie is a strong fierce woman with no concern for propriety. She waits four hours for her husband's body to be brought home and when it is, she tends it herself.
Jeanne Langevin is played by Sarah Zimmerman as a waspish termagant, estranged from her husband but bitterly refusing to divorce him. She is actually physically abusive to Paul and holds the stage with a powerful force. Terbougie (Leonard Kelly-Young) is a bigoted newspaperman who avidly follows Mme. Curie but disdains her as a mere woman.
Marie is a passionate woman, as smitten by Langevin as he is with her. Despite a long affair and his contempt for his wife, he can't bring himself to leave his children. She loves radium fiercely "for the beauty of pure science."
Daniel Sullivan directs with all the passion of the title character. As Pierre, John de Lancie is attractive, easy-going and a perfect match for Marie. He is the essence of Pierre Curie.
The set design by Thomas Lynch is minimalist, in accordance with the stage directions in the script. Daniel Ionazzi's lighting design is also subdued. There are projections of news clippings of the Curies and other relevancies. The actors move the props on and off, with the paring of the visual elements down to the bone apparently designed to highlight the story and the importance of the discovery of radium.
While Marie Curie was the first person to be honored with two Nobel Prizes and the 1943 bio pic, Madame Cure starring Greer Garson and Waler Pidgeon, may still show up occasonally on the Turner Movie Network, to most people today she's only vaguely famous so she's due for a revival. Whether Alan Alda's play fills the bill, remans to be seen. Hissecond act could use a trim and we're a long way from radium. But Alda is an astute writer, careful to keep the script from becoming too technical, and deeply committed to his people so that this is a play likely to have a future beyond this production.