BWW Interview: 'New York Times' Bestselling Author Kate Moore Talks 'The Radium Girls,' THESE SHINING LIVES, and Radioactive Legacy
It is hard to believe that decades before Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania or the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, there were thousands of young women, many of them teenagers, who were exposed to radium in dial factories in the United States and around the world. Many of these women suffered untimely deaths from painting the dials of luminous watches, using their lips to bring their paint brushes to a point.
The Radium Girls, as they became known, are the subject of THESE SHINING LIVES, which opens this weekend at The ArtCenter of Carrboro as part of The Women's Theatre Festival.
"To me, the story of The Radium Girls has a lot of similarity to the 'Me Too' movement," says Director Jorie Slodki. "This is a story about women whose bodies were considered expendable at work, and their bodies were harmed at work, and when they tried to get help, especially getting help from men, the men either lied to them about the nature of the problem, they told them that it wasn't a big deal, or they accused the women of causing the problem themselves."
"But then as the women talked to each other and to their co-workers and friends and saw that they were dealing with all the same symptoms, they realized, 'it's not just me, I'm not alone,' and that's what inspires them to band together and speak out for what was right," she adds.
And what was right for at least the women of the Ottawa, Illinois factory was to take their case to The Ilinois Industrial Commission, a move which ultimately led to lasting change in labor laws and the creation of OSHA.
Slodki says she was inspired to bring THESE SHINING LIVES to The Women's Theatre Festival after hearing 'New York Times' bestselling author Kate Moore speak at Quail Ridge Books. Moore, who directed her own production of THESE SHINING LIVES, says she literally fell in love with these women and wanted to write a book telling their story because she felt they had all been but forgotten.
Hear more about what Moore had to say to me about The Radium Girls' legacy (below).
THESE SHINING LIVES runs July 27th through August 5th at The ArtsCenter of Carrboro. For more information visit:
For more information on Kate Moore's book, The Radium Girls, visit: