Trouble Puppet Theater Company presents the world premiere of UNDARK: A Radioactive Puppet Play, telling the true story of the “radium girls” who worked in American factories in the late 1910s and early ‘20s. The play is produced with the support of The VORTEX and a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation.
Using its signature table top puppets as well as shadow puppetry, Trouble Puppet adds to its list of historical and labor-themed plays (The Jungle, The Bomb in Haymarket Square, Crapstall Street Boys, and The Gunpowder Plot: or, How I Became A Catholic Suicide Bomber) with this tale of female workers manufacturing luminous dials and instruments using the newly discovered natural wonder: radium.
Featuring an original score by theremin virtuosa Aileen Adler, UNDARK is a true Trouble Puppet story, mixing history with horror and revealing the macabre workings of capitalism. Disturbing and funny––or disturbingly funny––it is also shockingly relevant. As American workers in the twenty-first century again turn to unions in a pitched battle between oligarchy and the rights of citizens, Trouble Puppet looks back to one of the tragic episodes that led to the legal establishment of workers’ rights, in a struggle often led by women in the face of the added assault of misogyny and sex discrimination.
In the early twentieth century, the United States saw the first World War, the Roaring Twenties, and the Great Depression. Science discovered marvels and implemented them for wartime advantage and peacetime profit. In the pursuit of rapid, sweeping development, workers often became collateral damage in the great American industrial experiment. Women in particular were treated as a resource to which industry bore no responsibility. In many cases, women were the indomitable leaders who fought back against corporate impunity. The case of the “radium girls” is a story of shocking criminal negligence and the perseverance of women against a misogynistic system.
UNDARK: A Radioactive Puppet Play expresses Trouble Puppet’s continuing mission to use the art of puppetry to promote messages of social and economic justice.View Map