Ridgefield High School returns to stage for first time since pandemic

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Live shows have been a distant memory for many people because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Ridgefield High School is bringing back in-person performances with their show, “Radium Girls,” which starts on Oct. 28.

Radium Girls is based on a true story that took place in 1926 when female factory workers used radium to paint self-luminous watch dials. As a result, the women became sick. The story focuses on Grace Fryer, who tries to take her employer to court after she became sick from radiation poisoning, despite pushback from her family.

The play was selected as the first one coming out of the pandemic because it was part of Theater Director Kaitlyn Etter’s curriculum in the past.

“We studied this play at the end of last year in my advanced theater class and the kids got really excited about it,” Etter said. “While that was an obvious factor in the decision, we also have a lot of really strong students who identify as female, and there are a lot of really good (female) parts in the show.”

She added the students in general are excited about the idea of doing something that is based on a more obscure piece of history. The play is one that Etter herself has always enjoyed and it is typically highly recommended for high school curriculum. Not knowing what else to do in hybrid learning classes through the pandemic last year, Etter figured reading “Radium Girls” would engage the students and she was correct.

Despite not performing a play in some time, Etter said the rehearsal process has gone well. She said the students have gotten “back in their training wheels” since they haven’t performed or practiced together in person for over a year and a half. The productions before this one were presented in a digital format, which made it a “whole different ball game,” Etter said.

“Relearning together as a company how to put on a live show again has been exhausting, but it’s been really exhilarating at the same time,” Etter said. “To be all together in the same room again is quite magical and we’re grateful.”

The cast and crew started practicing in early September as soon as school started, and they have been honing their skills ever since. Despite the small practice window, Etter knows everyone is confident and ready to entertain audiences once again.

Because of COVID-19 mandates, students will need to be masked during the performances, as will the audience. Families watching can be grouped together, but there will be an empty seat between each family to socially distance.

All performances will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $10 for students, and $7 for those with an Associated Student Body (ASB) card. There are also a limited number of VIP tickets that are $20 each.

The show will be performed on Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Nov. 4, Nov. 5 and on Nov. 6.

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