GMDF Member Societies’ Acting Auditions, Plays, Musicals and Pantomimes
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Based on the true story of four women who worked in a watch factory in Ottawa, Illinois, the play dramatises the danger women faced in the workforce in the 1920s, and the lack of concern by companies for protecting the health of its employees.
Narrated by one of the workers, Catherine Donohue, These Shining Lives starts with women getting a chance for a well-paying job, uncharacteristic for USA women at that time. The job seems easy enough, painting the hour markings onto different sized watch dials using a Radium compound which glows in the dark. The Radium Dial Company tells them that there is no evidence that radium is harmful. After a few years, 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. Then they begin develop more serious ailments, including jaw infections and bone pain, but several local doctors tell them that all they need is aspirin.
After years of searching, they 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. But their fight is only beginning.
Please note Sunday is a matinee performance at 2pm.