BWW Previews: THESE SHINING LIVES at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts
These Shining Lives, by Melanie Marnich, first took the stage in Baltimore in 2008. The story follows the lives of four women working in a watch factory in Illinois in the 1920s and is narrated by one of the women, Catherine. These Shining Lives is based on the true story of the Radium Girls-women who were sickened and died from radium poisoning because of their work with self-luminous paint that they used to paint watch dials.
The play highlights how these women had to literally fight for their lives as well as for workers' rights during a time companies had little regard for the health of their workers and women were seldom able to find well-paying jobs in the first place. DreamWrights Center for Community Arts is bringing this story to its Studio November 15-24. In their recent press release, director Jaci Keagy says, "I want people to feel the same electricity I did when I first read the play. My biggest inspiration is the women themselves. I want to honor their lives."
Audiences will note that this play doesn't fit just one genre. As Keagy comments, "at times it's almost choral; some scenes seem like a docudrama. It's poetic, realistic, imaginative, and extremely emotional in spots." She notes that it has been a challenge to balance those styles. Everyone who comes to see the show will also be treated to a special exhibit in the lobby of DreamWrights of artwork by Savannah Schroll Guz, who put together a series, including a graphic novel, inspired by the Radium Girls. Additionally, in collaboration with the DreamWrights show, Small Star Art House is showing The Radium City on November 20th, which tells the tale of the city where one of the watch factories was located and explores what happened to the city after the factory was shut down.
Keagy hopes that These Shining Lives will "uplift people, challenge them, leave them with something when they're done watching the show." Tickets for These Shining Lives are $15 and can be purchased at www.dreamwrights.org or at the box office.