Teen Review: These Shining Lives

These Shining Lives is a beautiful, but sad, representation of how workers were (and still sometimes are) silenced and poorly treated by their employers. The main character is a woman working at a factory in the 1920s for nearly a decade that makes glowing clocks out of radium, and she gets severe radium poisoning as a result. This play is about a strong woman, young mother, wife, colleague and friend, who took a stand against a powerful corporation in order to prevent anyone else from going through the pain of an untimely death. I was reduced to tears by the end. I highly recommend seeing These Shining Lives for ages 13 and up. There is one mature scene and be prepared to shed a few tears.
— Amelia Sharpe
These Shining Lives chronicles the real story of women radium dial workers from the 1920s in Chicago. We follow the life of Catherine Donahue (a fictitious character); from family life to exciting new career to friendship with her three coworkers to illness and ultimately a class-action lawsuit against her employer, Radium Dial Company. Catherine, the narrators first haunting lines sets the play up well, “This is not a fairy tale, though it starts like one. It’s not a tragedy, though it ends like one.” The play is beautifully written and the performances chilling, heartbreaking and powerful. The set and sound design is simple and dreamy. Catherine’s agonizing side effects from the luminous radium paint ultimately held corporations responsible and changed the laws that would help keep future employees safe from dangers and health issues in the workplace. These Shining Lives is a must see.
— Ronnie Sharpe

Performances at the newly refurbished theater plays through March 31st at The Barn Ross Valley Players, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross; Box Office 415-456-9555 or rossvalleyplayers.com.