From March 26 to March 29, the UMBC Theater Department performed “These Shining Lives”, by Melanie Marnich. Now that the show has passed and I won’t be spoiling it for anyone who wants to see it by talking about it.
I’ve seen a number of UMBC Theater Department shows and this was one of my favorites. The show featured a small cast of seven with UMBC student Martha Robichaud as the lead.
“These Shining Lives” chronicles the life of Catherine Donahue in the early 1900’s as she starts work at the Radium Dial Clock Company is Ottawa, Illinois as a painter of clock faces using radium. Catherine builds a family of other women at the clock company, while her husband reluctantly supports her working.
Eventually, it becomes very clear that the women of Radium Dial have been poisoned by the radium. After years of grueling court cases, appeals, and social isolation, while suffering immensely from the debilitating sickness of radium poisoning, the women win a legal battle against Radium Dial. Fairly soon after winning, Catherine Donahue dies.
The story was beautifully written and the actors portrayed their characters extremely well. They even sported tasteful Chicago accents. It’s clear why UMBC’s Theater Department is often praised.
Check out “Leah’s Dybbuk” on April 30-May 3, 2015 to see the Theater Department in their next production!