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Political Oppression, Fame, Single Motherhood

October 13, 2009 | by Megan Fellman
Marie Curie is best known for her work in the field of radioactivity, including the discovery of two radioactive elements. Susan Marie Frontczak (pictured) portrays Curie in the play "Manya."

EVANSTON, Ill. --- "Manya: A Living History of Marie Curie," a one-person play about the dramatic life of the physicist and chemist Marie Curie, will be held at Northwestern University Oct. 15 to 17.

Born Maria Sklodowska and nicknamed Manya, Curie pioneered the field of radioactivity and became the first person to receive two Nobel prizes. The play charts Curie's journey from her Warsaw childhood to scientific fame as an adult and attempts to show the woman behind the myth.

Free and open to the public, each performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Ryan Family Auditorium of the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus. All ages are welcome, but the play is best suited to adults and students aged 12 and older.

The one-woman drama illustrates the struggles and triumphs of Curie -- an academically impassioned, vehemently private, fervently Polish scientist, mother and teacher. The story traces Curie's life from the political oppression of her childhood to scientific realization and fame to the tragedy that forced her into single motherhood.

Susan Marie Frontczak, the play's author, will perform the title role.

The play is part of ETOPiA: Engineering Transdisciplinary Outreach Project in the Arts, an outreach initiative at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. ETOPiA's goal is to foster interdisciplinary dialogue between University and community while exploring the role of science in society.

The project's first play, "Copenhagen," was performed at Northwestern last year.

This year's production is supported by the University's Materials Research Center, International Institute for Nanotechnology and Graduate School, alumni of Northwestern University and the National Science Foundation's division of materials research.

Reservations for "Manya" are recommended and can be made by calling (847) 324-3298 or by going to www.manya.northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life