The Department of Theatre Arts presents Melanie Marnich’s “These Shining Lives” on November 5 through 8 and November 12 through 15, in Theatre Two at the Staller Center. Inspired by true events, this evocative drama chronicles the passionate struggle of four friends and co-workers at the Radium Dial Company who fight to reveal the truth about the corporate travesty that threatens to extinguish their shining lives.
Known for her daring subjects and risqué social commentary, Marnich sets this play in the 1920s and 1930s, when jobs were few and far between and the women who secured jobs at Radium Dial Company considered themselves fortunate to be working. At eight cents a watch, the job offered stability, lucrative pay, and companionship with fellow workers. The women would moisten their tiny paintbrushes between their lips, dip the brush in luminous paint, and paint the dials. They knew little about what they were ingesting into their bodies until the corporate cover up could no longer hide the toxic effects of the radium and they became ill themselves.
Director Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, an actress and faculty member in the Department of Theatre Arts, was drawn to this play because “it deals with corporate irresponsibility and an unconscionable abuse of power—both themes that are highly relevant during our current economic crisis.” She adds, “The playwright is using this historic regional travesty as a metaphor for a more global, contemporary issue.”
There will be a post-show discussion following the Sunday, November 8, matinee. Post show discussions are free and open to the public. All performances are Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm, with Sunday afternoon performances at 2:00 pm.
Tickets are available at the Staller Center box office, or by calling 632-ARTS. Ticket prices are $13 for general admission and $8 for students with ID. For more information about this production and other Theatre Arts programming, call 63204291 or log visit www.sunysb.edu/theatrearts.