While researching the life of Marie Curie, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who discovered and isolated radium, playwright Alan Alda went to France, hoping to inspect Curie's letters — but after more than a century, they're still radioactive. In the early days of their research, Curie (the strong Anna Gunn) and her husband, Pierre (John De Lancie), were unaware of the dangers of radioactivity, and both paid the price. That was only one of the many obstacles Curie faced. The scientific establishment discouraged her experiments, and when she succeeded, they refused to award the Nobel to a woman, presenting it to Pierre instead. She also survived attacks by male chauvinists and the death of her husband. But her toughest struggle occurred when, after Pierre's death, she had an affair with a married man (Dan Donohue). His ruthless and abusive wife (Sarah Zimmerman) discovered the affair, stole and published their letters and threatened to kill Curie. Alda's play tells the story enchantingly — well-directed by Daniel Sullivan, and well-acted on Thomas Lynch's ingenious set. Geffen Playhouse, 10866 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 11. (310) 208-54564, geffenplayhouse.com

Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Starts: Nov. 9. Continues through Dec. 18, 2011

LA Weekly