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These Shining Lives
March 8 @ 2:00 pm$12 – $15
THESE SHINING LIVES chronicles the strength and determination of women considered expendable in their day, exploring their true story and its continued resonance. Catherine and her friends are dying, it’s true; but theirs is a story of survival in its most transcendent sense, as they refuse to allow the company that stole their health to kill their spirits—or endanger the lives of those who come after them.
This isn’t a fairy tale, though it starts like one. It’s not a tragedy, though it ends like one.
Catherine Donohue’s opening line to the audience in These Shining Lives sets the tone for a play that is hard to categorize.
Based on the true story, it shows us the lives of the “radium girls” who painted dials with glowing radium-infused paint to create watches that could be read in the dark.
Catherine Donohue and her coworkers at Radium Dial in Ottawa, Illinois, were among the many women who worked in conditions that exposed them to a radioactive chemical that made them ill. Their fight for workers’ compensation even as they were suffering the crippling effects of the radium inspired a nation of workers to demand safe conditions from their employers.
Their efforts are described in historic accounts as heroic, but they saw themselves as ordinary people. As Catherine says: “But we’re just girls who wanted to work.”
With its simple set, small cast and Melanie Marnich’s poetic script, this story is one you will remember.
Included in the Shining Lives cast are:
- Kim Benesh,
- Schuyler Bieber,
- Larry Hansen,
- Kellyn Howell,
- Craig Jarvie,
- Mary Morgan-Blacharski,
- Kim Novotny,
- Braden JP Rood,
- Jennifer Smith,
- Lisa Smith,
- Len Struttmann
Kami Zbanek Hill is directing. Production dates are March 6-8 and 13-14 in the First Street Community Center’s Uptown Theatre.