Kraus, Joanna Halpert. Ms. Courageous, Women of Science. New Plays, 1997. 45pp. (90 pp. with teacher guides) A 3-9 Reviewed by Harold R. Oaks Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to become a doctor with a medical degree;. Marie Sklodowska Curie won two Nobel prizes for her work in physics and chemistry. These women are the subject of this two-part, story-theatre style narrative. It explores the difficulties and challenges of being accepted in traditionally male fields, and having people believe they were not only competent, but able to excel. The first act illustrates Elizabeth's difficulty getting accepted into medical school in 1847, and then overcoming bacterial blindness and prejudice in establishing a clinic in New York. The second act takes the audience to Paris and Marie's persistence at getting an education at the Sorbonne, her meeting and marrying Pierre Curie, working with him to discover and establish two new elements (radium and polonium), and being awarded her first Nobel prize. The play is designed to move swiftly in time and space. The play text is supplemented by a forty-page resource guide, including improvisation suggestions, chronologies, short histories, lists of other women scientists, and classroom exercises and activities for Science, Language Arts, Social Studies and the Arts. Staging requirements are minimal: utilizing platforms, changeable signs, and costume pieces for character changes. The play can be done with a cast of four (3F, 1M) or a much larger cast, if desired. It can work as an informative presentation for young audiences by either professional or experienced amateur performers, or as an excellent classroom exercise that will expand student's experience and knowledge.
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