New play tells story of Curie
by Diana Sholley ~ Inland Valley Daily Bulletin ~ March 9, 2012

Though many people have heard the name "Marie Curie," fewer actually know who she is, where she came from or why she's famous.

A new, original one-woman play, "Marie Curie: Rogue Scientist," is aiming to change that.

This compelling drama about the two-time Nobel Peace Prize winner debuts tonight and will run through Sunday at the Rialto Playhouse.

"The more I learned about her the more I loved her," said Gabriel Morales, the play's writer, director and co-producer. "I love her tenacity, her wit and sense of humor. I love the way she faced all the hardships in her life and how she never gave up what she loved to do - what she was meant to do."

Morales' play was inspired by The Acting Out Series, a project of his co-producer JTL Productions. The series is a collection of stage dramas about historical figures such as Edgar Allan Poe and John Wilkes Booth.

"I was impressed with the series and wanted to be a part of it," Morales said. "I noticed they didn't have any women in the series yet and her name just popped into my mind."

Once Morales started to research the Polish-born scientist, he was compelled to tell her story. He also knew the perfect performer to play the part - his wife, award-winning actress Rebecca Morales.

"(Gabriel) asked me if I was interested," Rebecca said. "It was something I'd never done before; one of those things that I knew would stretch me. And she was inspiring. (Marie Curie) had such passion for life, when people told her `no' she tried harder."

Together the couple gained insight into Curie's life, intimate details that illuminated her brilliance and her vulnerability.

"She went through hardships, the deaths of her mother and sister, living in oppression under Russian rule, gender discrimination, and she also experienced great joy like meeting and marrying the love of her life," Rebecca said. "She made great accomplishments while having a lifelong struggle with depression."

In 1903 Marie Curie, her husband Pierre, and Henri Becquerel were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for their study into spontaneous radiation. Marie Curie received a second Nobel Prize in 1911 in chemistry for her work in radioactivity.

John Lynd, founder of JTL Productions with his wife Toni, is a big fan of the Morales' work in theater. When Gabriel approached him with the Marie Curie script Lynd was anxious to co-produce.

"They have done a great job in telling her story," said Lynd, who also will be presenting it at Chino's Seventh Street Theatre March 30, 31 and April 1. "Kids in school today get the `Reader's Digest' version of history. That's what makes a series like this so important. When I've asked young people if they know who Marie Curie is and they say `No,' or, `Isn't she that spy?' it scares the heck out of me. It worries me that some people don't know who this person is."