“Daylight. All The Time.”: Audition Monologues for Radium Girls
Written by Amanda Grace
October 15th, 2020
Looking to land one of the luminous roles in D.W. Gregory’s Radium Girls? These monologues contain the youthful heart and tragic fate needed to capture one of the characters who didn’t know they were making history.
Auditioning for Grace
From Supermarket of Lost by Cassandra Hsiao
Affable dial painter Grace fancies herself an artist as she works away; when the poisoning sets in, she leads the lawsuit against the radium company. In this selection from Supermarket of Lost, Hailee—a teenager dying of cancer—shares the unknowable pain of watching your parents watch you die, and how she attempts to reduce the inevitable blow her death will cause. Hsiao’s monologue has the potential to reflect the familial love and depth of concern Grace experiences on her journey.
Auditioning for Kathryn
From Fighting for My Self by Renee J. Clark
Dial painter Kathryn has a zest for life upheld by a great sense of humor. Channel her passion and experience with Clark’s monologue featuring Kathy, a science-obsessed schoolgirl. We meet Kathy as she writes in her diary, wherein she confesses she would love to leave a mark on the world as a professional scientist when she grows up.
Auditioning for Irene
From bedbound by Enda Walsh
To live up to Irene’s slightly bitter bite, try this piece from Walsh’s play about a father-daughter relationship gone terrifyingly wrong. The Daughter, as she is called, has polio, and speaks entirely from her bed as she takes us through the day she contracted the disease that would irreversibly change her life.
Auditioning for Sob Sister and Mrs. Fryer
From New York by David Rimmer
The Sob Sister is responsible for selling the Radium Girls’ stories in her tabloid; catch her sensationalism and spirit for the profession in this monologue from Rimmer’s play about 15 people’s reactions to 9/11. Devon, a TV newscaster, has gone to see her psychiatrist. In this piece, she tells of the great triumphs she’s had since reporting on the tragedy, and bittersweet a pill such success can be.
Auditioning for Mrs. Roeder and Madame Curie
From The 119th Element by Tara Meddaugh
Perfect for playing the physicist who discovered the Girls’ cause of death, this standalone monologue is delivered by a somewhat awkward scientist as he is being recognized for discovering Garium. Although the scientist starts off strong—testifying to be following in Marie Curie’s footsteps—his speech slips into a revelation of his greatest hypothesis: that he is always right.
Auditioning for Lee and Bailey
From A Wire in Water by Justin Warner
Give a nod to the radium company VP’s less-than-truthful tendency towards opportunism with this speech from Warner’s profile of Alexander Graham Bell. Gardiner Greene Hubbard, “Aleck” Bell’s benefactor and future father-in-law, insists that Bell stick to his cover story as he faces accusations of stealing elements of his patent. At this point, denial is the only option.
Auditioning for Berry, Martland, and Flinn
From The Bridge by Bruce Solheim
As Grace’s attorney, Berry’s job is to remain skeptical in pursuit of truth beyond reasonable doubt. His commitment to rationalism and reason can be seen in this piece about Harry, a physics teacher, who’s just met Simone on the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. As they both face the fear of their next step, Harry breaks apart quantum physics for Simone: there are multiple planes of reality, and it is only in perceiving it that reality exists at all.
Auditioning for Tom and Knef
From Degas in New Orleans by Rosary O’Neill
This doubled role casts you as both an industrial hygienist and dentist, each charged with examining the girls’ state of living decay. Both characters—whether they confess to it or not—will be constantly observing horrors similar to René in O’Neill’s play, who is preparing his dying infant for the casket. He is dedicated and detached all at once.
Auditioning for Markley and Von Sochocky
From Garium by Tara Meddaugh
The inventor of the paint that slowly poisons the Radium Girls is proud and exacting. Puff out your chest with this standalone piece featuring Paul and his make-shift science lab. On a rare visit, Paul insists Joe follow laboratory protocol as he defends the merit of his work to his skeptical guest.
Auditioning for Roeder
From Drone by Norman Matthews
Roeder, the company President, stands to lose everything if radium’s deadliness is revealed, so he digs his heals into self-affirming structure and denial. The stakes weighing on him are similar to those weighing on Mike, a drone pilot for the U.S. Air Force who has grown attached to his surveillance target, whose family he has just been given orders to eliminate via missile strike. This monologue will allow you to crack open the psyche of someone who has been instrumental in a tragedy.
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