The Elgin Community College Art Center will premier “These Shining Lives” on Saturday, May 15, at 7 p.m. This spring drama production chronicles the strength and determination of women considered expendable in their day, exploring their true story and its continued resonance. The show streams May 15 - 18 at 7 p.m., followed by a live talkback with the cast each night.
“These Shining Lives” is written by Melanie Marnich and is based on the true story of four women who worked for the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, Illinois, and of the job that ultimately endangered their health. Based on the lives of the 'Radium Girls' and their unsafe working conditions painting watch faces with radium paint in the 1920s and 1930s, the play also tells a story of survival and the refusal to let injustices continue.
Associate Professor of Theatre and Drama Director Susan A. Robinson said, “This adaptation was chosen because it is about "time -time passing and time running out. It is about the importance of relationships and how vital they are in times of crisis. It is about standing up for what you believe in and speaking up when there is injustice, even when uncomfortable and challenging. It is about the strength and resiliency of women and how essential it is to hear their voices."
Regarding the cast, Robinson added, "The cast has gone above and beyond in their research, preparation, and hard work during rehearsal. We are all grateful to be doing theatre – whether over Zoom, six feet apart with masks, or filming with no live audience. The cast recognizes the importance of the story – how it will touch people, bring to light important social issues and also remind the audience that each moment of our lives is precious and should be savored."
Tickets for the “These Shining Lives” virtual performances are free; reserve them at tickets.elgin.edu. Donations are welcome to help support future Arts Center programming.