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Story of Marie Curie on stage Dec. 6
Monday, November 27, 2006

SUNY Fredonia is presenting the one-woman staged performance, "MANYA: A Living History of Marie Curie," at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

In the drama, Susan Marie Frontczak of  "StorySmith" performs the role of Mme. Marie Curie, known

Susan Marie Frontczak as Marie CurieSusan Marie Frontczak as Marie Curie


for her 19th century discovery of radium and radioactivity. Set designer is Steve Rees of the SUNY Fredonia theatre and dance department. The actress has developed the program with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other arts foundations.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students, and can be purchased in advance or at the door. An afternoon show is being coordinated with local school districts by SUNY Fredonia Education Professor Michael Jabot solely for middle school students.

The event is the first to be supported by the Phyllis and Lawrence Patrie Endowment for the Sciences of the Fredonia College Foundation. Principal donors recently increased the endowment to help support events as well as scholarships.

"Few people understand the obstacles that Marie Curie faced along the way to her ground-breaking discovery," Dr. Michael Grady, organizer of the event and chairperson of the physics department at SUNY Fredonia Madame Curie's childhood, her scientific emergence and fame, as well as the tragedy that forced her into single motherhood and further world prominence.

"This is an excellent example of how science and the arts can mix in interesting ways," Dr. Grady said. "The show brings in a lot of history concerning the build-up to World War I and the precarious position of Poland in those years. There is also, of course, also an obvious connection to women's studies. Through extraordinary drive and with the help of some forward-thinking men, particularly her husband, Madame Curie managed to break into an entirely male bastion and ended up with two Nobel prizes. Her example was extremely important in showing that women could compete at the very top level in science."

For 21 years, Ms. Frontczak has brought literature to life, created stories from thin air, and honed personal experience into tales worth telling again and again. She plays in theatres, corporations, schools, libraries, and festivals internationally. Her original narrative scripts and stories include "Ground Hog" heard on Morning Edition, Colorado Public Radio; "Vanishing Voices" a collaboration with Planina Balkan Women's Choir; and "Two Hearts, Four Feet" a celebration of social dance to accompany the traveling Smithsonian exhibit "Paris in the Jazz Age."

The event's sponsors on campus include the Science Education Partnership of the College of Natural and Social Sciences.

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