The U.S. is notorious for teaching its public school students American history at the expense of world history (which just might be slightly more important). The American education system sucks and Florida, always one to get left behind, consistently is consistently suckier than most - ranking in the bottom 25% of schools nationwide. Feel free to blame your ignorance of Marie Curie on any of these facts.
Curie is largely responsible for discovering the curative properties of radium - yes, radium as in radiology, what we use to treat and cure cancer. She's the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and one of two to win it twice. But being a woman, there was no way she could achieve so much without small-minded morons (read: male scientists/haters) talking a lot of smack. So she had an affair with a married man? Big deal. If it wasn't for her, we wouldn't have the x-ray.
Angelica Torn, who might best be remembered as the cold bitch who poisons her step-daughter's soup in The Sixth Sense, plays Curie in The Radiant at the New Theatre opening Friday. We had a chance to chat with Angelica about Curie, the Russian & Turkish Baths, and Cuban food.
New Times: How did you approach playing Curie?
Torn: Estelle Parsons put me in touch with author Shirley Lauro in 2008,
right before Estelle and I went off on the national tour of August:
Osage County. Estelle was moderating the Playwrights Directors Unit at
The Actors Studio where she and I are board members and asked us to
bring in a workshop production for a one night presentation. We
rehearsed for two weeks and I have worked on the play on and off since
then so I've had lots of time to let the text and character soak in to
my bones. I'm currently reading four biographies on Curie and just saw
the Curie exhibit "Radioactivity" at the 42nd St. Library in New York
City where I primarily reside.
Are you looking forward to visiting Miami?
I performed in Miami at the Coconut Grove Playhouse twice, once in 1997
with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which I was nominated for a
Carbonell Award and in 2005 with my one woman show about Sylvia Plath,
which garnered me an Outer Critics Circle nomination in NY and a New
Times Award here in Miami. I'm thrilled to be here. Especially since our
winter up north this year was a brutal one.
Is there anything you are looking forward to doing while you're here?
Everything! The beach. The Turkish [and] Russian Baths. Chilling out.
Tell us about Lucky Days.
It is my debut feature film, which I wrote, directed and starred in. My
beloved Paul Newman gave me the seed and finishing funds for the film,
which was the last film to be shot in Coney Island Amusement Park which
has largely been dismantled to make way for new development.
What can the audience expect from The Radiant?
Passion, chemistry -- in and out of the lab -- and riveting ensemble
acting. It's a very surprising play as much of the information used for
the storyline has been suppressed for years.
My favorite movie of your dad's (Rip Torn) is Defending Your Life.
While growing up did you know what he did for a living? Do you think it
affected your career path at all?
I was affected very deeply by both my father and Oscar-winning mother Geraldine Page.
I had the great luck of mingling with great artists from a very early
age and was extremely shy, so I listened and watched a great deal and
learned a lot, as I preferred hanging around the adults.
Have you ever had Cuban food?
Yes. Can never get enough!
In year's last Oscars, a woman won Best Director for the first time
in over 80 years of the Academy Awards. As a female director, what do
you think about the future for female directors?
I think the future for women in the arts will continue to unfold beautifully as it should.
The Radiant opens on Friday and runs through April 17 at the New Theatre (4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables). Tickets cost
between $15 and $40. You can catch some Curie Thursdays through
Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (no 5:30 p.m.
show on March 27). Call 305-443-5909 or visit new-theatre.org.