SALT LAKE CITY — Curie Me Away is a musical by Matheatre that covers the story of Madame Marie Curie, a world-renowned scientist who ended up dying because of the elements that she researched. It is part of the Fringe Festival that has been in Salt Lake City over the last two weekends. Matheatre is a local group that travels to different high schools and colleges around the country, bringing stories about science and math to audiences. I was quite taken by this idea and their purpose.
The production of Curie Me Away starred Sadie Bowman (who also wrote the music and lyrics) and Ricky Coates (who co-authored the book with Bowman). The show was directed by Llysa Holland and had voice talent from Marc Gutman. Bowman did a great job portraying the struggles of the famous scientist as she faced difficulties in her country growing up, how she traveled to Paris to study and faced obstacles and sexism all along the way. The story continued to cover the challenges of love and romance, building a family and a home all while working to discover new scientific elements. Interspersed with the serious subject matter were many amusing and interesting songs, building fun music out of scientific concepts. My favorite was a love song written around the periodic table of elements that I am sure would have helped me do a better job in chemistry had I been able to learn it in high school.
This was the premiere of this production, and—as with most premieres—there can be some improvements. I had wished that they had gone more into the health effects that Madam Curie faced because of her work and research. It was very cleverly alluded to via an addition to her costume at the end, but I almost wished for a second act where the story could be finished. The performances were fun and the actors had good chemistry (no pun intended), but both could become more refined.
But it was wonderful seeing this premiere, and I found myself wishing I had brought my science-loving daughter along. I really hope Matheatre continues to come up with shows that encourage scientific and mathematical discovery.