PLT Presents 'These Shining Lives' Streaming Online

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Lewis University Philip Lynch Theatre Presents 'These Shining Lives' Streaming Online

Published: November 2, 2020.

"These Shining Lives," written by American playwright and television writer-producer Melanie Marnich, will stream performances on November 13 – 15 and November 19 – 22, 2020.  The play is recommended for patrons 13 years and up. Evening performances are 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees are 2:30 p.m. In addition, there is a matinee performance at 3:30 p.m. on November 21. Ticket prices are $13 for an adult, $12 for students and seniors. Lewis students pay $3 with an ID. Running time of the show is approximately ninety minutes.

For more information, patrons can follow the Philip Lynch Theatre (PLT) on social media @pltlewisu, or call the box office

(815) 836-5500, Wednesday through Friday 1-4:30 p.m. Purchase streaming links online with a credit card on the PLT Website at www.lewisu.edu/plt.  Click the “buy tickets” link. Prior to the streaming performance, patrons will be emailed a link and password to the online production.

Catherine Wolfe Donohue (played by Kyra Savage of Romeoville) opens the play stating to the audience: “This isn’t a fairy tale, though it starts like one.  This isn’t a tragedy, though it ends like one.” "These Shining Lives" is set in the 1920s through the early 1930s and tells the true story of four women working at the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, IL who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with radium glow-in-the-dark paint.  They unknowingly ingested deadly amounts of radium by licking paintbrushes in a “lip… dip… paint… routine” to do their work.  The company manager, Mr. Reed (played by Lukas Roy of Palos Park) tells them that there is no evidence that radium is harmful and provides scientific evidence of its health benefits.  The company employed over 1,000 women who turned out about 4,300 watch dials each day.

After a period of time, Catherine’s husband Tom (played by John Kladis of Palos Hills) notices that his wife’s hands have started glowing in the dark.  Catherine and her co-workers: Charlotte Purcell (played by Katie Horn of Sturgis, MI), Frances O’Connoll (played by Saenovia Poole of Bolingbrook), and Pearl Payne (played by Kelsey Papineau of Mazon) develop ailments, including teeth and jaw infections, anemia, fainting spells, and severe arm and leg pain. Eventually, Charlotte Purcell has her left arm amputated at the shoulder due to the sarcoma that has spread throughout her entire body.  Several local doctors, including the company doctor, overlook the women’s medical concerns and prescribe aspirin. 

The women travel to Chicago to find a doctor willing to put his reputation on the line and diagnosis them with radium poisoning.  Bonded in friendship and faced with their mortality, the women seek out charismatic Chicago attorney Leonard J. Grossman to bring a legal challenge to their employer.  The saga holds an important place in the history of the fields of health, physics, and the labor rights movement.  The seven-year legal battle and resulting publicity was a factor in the establishment of occupational disease labor law.

Philip Lynch Theatre Manager and Assistant theatre professor Jo Slowik of Joliet directs the play called “wistful and beautifully tragic.” Assistant theatre professor and designer Andrew Nelsen of Joliet designs minimal scenery with a focus on elegant lighting and the use of void spaces. Resident costumer Celeste Mackey of Joliet has conceived costumes to illustrate the 1920s fashion which entered the modern era in which women liberated themselves from constricting clothing and began to wear more comfortable clothes. Working behind the scenes are Austin Jones of Steger (stage manager), Alexander Schedel of Bolingbrook (assistant stage manager), Julia Egizio of Plainfield (properties manager), Katie Szymkiewicz of Chicago (sound design and board operator), Jacob Wolniak of Crestwood (body microphone operator) and Dave Pomatto of Naperville (assistant technical director).

Lewis University is an innovative and forward-thinking Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,300 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected and socially responsible graduates. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

Lewis University is an innovative and forward-thinking Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,300 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected and socially responsible graduates. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.



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