These Shining Lives, by Melanie Marnich
Directed by Lisa Jones Bevil
October 8th - October 24th
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
These Shining Lives chronicles the strength and determination of women considered expendable in their day, exploring their true story and its continued resonance. It’s the heartwarming story of Catherine Donohue and her friends and their struggle against the Radium Dial Company of Ottawa, Illinois. They were not only fighting for themselves but for all workers who have come after them. This is a work of creative nonfiction inspired by real people and actual events.
Setting - Chicago and Ottowa, Illinois
Time - 1920s and 1930s
Cast Size - This play is written to accommodate 6 actors, but there are as many as 18 roles if the doubling recommended in the script is ignored.
Catherine Donohue is a proud working woman. She is vibrant and competitive. Although she insists that her job is a temporary one, she enjoys working outside of the home and she is unapologetic about it.
Frances has a keen eye for scandal. She loves the time and attention she gets from her work companions. The actress playing Frances also plays Reporter 2 and an Official.
Charlotte is a tough taskmaster and a determined woman. She works hard at her job, doesn’t make friends easily and she doesn’t let go of the friends she has made or let them give up. The actress playing Charlotte also plays Reporter 1.
Pearl is a shameless gossip who sees her work as an opportunity to know everything about everyone. Not a single symptom of scandal or sickness escapes her notice. The actress playing Pearl also plays the Daughter and Judge 2.
Tom Donohue is Catherine’s husband. He is head-over-heels for his wife and family even though he is somewhat troubled by having a working wife. The actor playing Tom also plays Dr. Rowantree and Dr. Dalitsch.
Mr. Reed is the boss at the factory. It is clear that he has information about the effects of radium poisoning but he abides by company policy and does not inform his workers. He wants to make the factory profitable. Although he is invested in his workers and their lives and even considers them friends, he knowingly allows them to continue to be poisoned and sicken and die. The actor playing Mr. Reed also plays the Radio Announcer, the Company Doctor, the Son, Judge, and Leonard Grossman.