Historical series shines light on Curie
by Melodie H. Magouirk ~ Chino Champion ~ Jan. 28, 2012

The “Acting Out” series that has produced two premieres in Chino will next breathe life into “Marie Curie: Rogue Scientist.”

The husband and wife team of Gabriel and Rebecca Morales became involved with the series, which dramatically chronicles the lives of historical figures, because of their relationship with series creator John Lynd of JTL Productions.

“I’ve known John and Toni (Lynd) for many years, and did some promotional work for the first two ‘Acting Out’ productions of Edgar Allan Poe and John Wilkes Booth,” said Mr. Morales.

Both of those productions were written and directed by Mr. Lynd, and starred Travis Rhett Wilson in the title roles. The productions also premiered at Chino Community Theatre, which Mr. Lynd has said he considers his home base.

“Marie Curie: Rogue Scientist,” will premier at the Rialto Playhouse March 9-11, and will play at Seventh Street Theatre March 30-April 1. “At the Booth show, I brought the Curie idea up to John, and he later agreed to include our production under his banner while he works on Benjamin Franklin and Van Gogh,” Mr. Morales said.

Marie Curie’s name came to Mr. Morales one night as he recalled a series of children’s books about historical figures he had as a toddler. “Curie was the focus of one of the books, along with Edison, Einstein, Salk and the like,” Mr. Morales said. “I guess her story has been with me since then.”

Marie Curie chose the uranium rays as her field of research. Using the Curie electrometer, she discovered that uranium rays give conductivity to the air surrounding them. She discovered that the activity of uranium compounds depends on the quantity of uranium present. She discovered the radioactive nature of pitchblende and chalcocite, two minerals of uranium. She also discovered that thorium was a radioactive element. In 1898, she announced the discovery of an element, which she named polonium. During the same year, on Dec. 26, the Curies declared to have discovered radium.

Mr. Morales said that while researching her life, he learned that as a young woman, Marie Curie was considered manic depressive after the deaths of her mother and sister. Prohibited from a higher education in 19th-century Poland, she joined an underground university for women. Returning to Warsaw after earning her first degree from the prestigious Sorbonne, she was denied a teaching position because of her gender.

Madame Curie’s involvement in World War I utilized her knowledge of X-rays to create what became known as “Petite Curie’s,” mobile X-ray stations that she drove to the front lines of battle, saving the lives of injured soldiers.

Mr. Morales said he wouldn’t start writing until his bride of three months agreed to play the famed scientist. Once she agreed, he shaped the character with her in mind. "The play was written especially for her. I can't imagine working with a more talented actress - her talent is ethereal," Mr. Morales said. "Besides the fact that Rebecca resembles Curie, the more we delved into Curie's history, the more we realized how much alike they are. Both are full of tenacity and tenderness, wit and passion, and each has an unrelenting drive for what they know to be their life's calling."

Madame Curie was chosen by Mr. Morales for having been an icon of learning and personal achievement for more than a century. The "Acting Out" series was originated by Mr. Lynd with the idea of taking performances to students, bringing history to life on the stage.

"From her story, young people can know that even when you're born and raised in the most difficult of circumstances - when it seems everything and everyone is pitted against you - you should fight all the more to succeed in your life," Mr. Morales said.