Exposed Spotlights Nuke Danger

Play explores the plight of fallout downwinders

Mary Dickson

Murmurs of a nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran, along with the growing number of people suffering from nuclear fallout, create the context for Mary Dickson’s play Exposed when it comes to Eugene.

Exposed premiered in 2007 at Plan-B Theater Company in Salt Lake City. In Eugene, it will be offered as a staged reading, directed by Carol Dennis, at Tsunami Books on Sunday, Aug. 5.

The play is a memoir and history based on Dickson’s life in Nevada as a downwinder — a person who grew up near a nuclear test site and was exposed to radiation.

The story explores the struggles in Dickson’s life caused by nuclear fallout, and the fight to learn the truth the government kept from them and others who lived downwind.

Annette Rose, who arranged to bring the reading to Tsunami, has been friends with Dickson for more than a decade, since the two women participated in activist groups against nuclear weapons and disarmament in Salt Lake City. 

Rose spent many years working in health care and moved from Salt Lake City to Eugene when she retired nine years ago. She continues to be involved in activism against nuclear weapons. 

Exposed is important, she says, in light of current events, including nuclear talk between world leaders threatening each other, the false nuclear alarms in Hawaii and conflict with Russia. 

“The nuclear issue has come up again and is rearing its ugly head,” Rose says. “This shouldn’t be happening and we shouldn’t be threatening with weapons of mass destruction.”

She says that this play can also speak to Oregonians who moved away from the Hanford nuclear site in Washington.

“There are a lot of downwinders in Oregon,” Rose says. “They are still having trouble with the radiation site and are bound to learn the truth someday.” 

Dickson will attend the reading and will answer questions afterward, Rose says. 

Exposed will be performed 2 pm Sunday, Aug. 5, at Tsunami Books. Tickets are on a sliding scale of $5 to $50; proceeds go to Tsunami Books and Women’s Action for New Direction (WAND), an organization that advocates for the elimination of nuclear threat and promotes peace.