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These Shining Lives

Thursday Feb 23, 2023

2022-2023 Mainstage Theatre Logo

February 23 - 25

7:30 p.m.

February 25

2 p.m.

LEAD Event

These Shining Lives

By: Melanie Marnich

Narrated by one of the workers, Catherine Donohue, These Shining Lives shows women getting a chance for a well-paying job in the 1920s and early 1930s, which was uncharacteristic for the time in the United States. The job, which seems easy enough to the four main characters, is painting the hour markings onto different sized watch dials using a radium compound which glows in the dark. Radium Dial, the company that hires the women to do the painting, tells them that there is no evidence that radium is harmful, and even that it has health benefits. After a period of time, the workers notice that their hands start glowing in the dark, but assume that it is just from the radium powder that is used to paint the faces. The ladies then develop ailments, including jaw infections and bone pain. Several local doctors, including the company doctor, overlook the women’s concerns and prescribe aspirin, which of course does not help. In the end, they have to travel to the city (Chicago) to find a doctor who is willing to put his name on the line and diagnose the women with radium poisoning. This in turn helps the four main characters decide to file a lawsuit against Radium Dial. An attorney, Leonard J. Grossman, agrees to take the case for free, with Donohue as the lead plaintiff. Based on a true story!

Dulany Auditorium

Parental guidance recommended. Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service Inc.

Phone: 573.592.4281