The 2019-2020 Pierce College theater program hosted their first play of the school year in These Shining Lives.
This play follows the historical experiences of working women from Ottawa, Illinois back in 1920 and how they fought for their labor rights against an oppressive corporation. These women had a battle on two fronts as they also had to fight the effects of radium poisoning and many lost their lives because of it.
The play is directed by Dr. Nichole Nicholson, who has a personal connection to the story of this play.
“One of the things she [Nichole’s mother] remembers as a child is men from the government in hazmat suits coming into her home, and they took all of her toys and her bedding and her clothes away and they took all of my grandmother’s bedding and clothes and toys away because it was all irradiated,” says Nichole.
The play mainly revolves around Catherine Donohue and her friends as they work to shut down Radium Dial–a company that paints clocks and watches using radio luminescent paint. This production has both elements of joy, charm, sorrow and empowerment as it follows the historical events these brave women had to endure. This play also addresses some very prominent issues in society today.
“One of the reasons I think this story is important now is because a lot of environmental protection has been rescinded in the last few years, so companies have been given permission to dump waste in rivers for instance or bury waste underground, and I think it’s easy to not think about that very much,” says Nichole.
Not only that, but the story also acts as an inspiration to all, especially women.
“I’m seeing these women just being so completely themselves and strong and powerful and standing up to really bad situations it’s, it’s very in the need for now. They’re huge examples for feminism,” says Morgan Thomas, who has the lead role in the play.
This show deals with some very heavy topics and issues, but it is full of love and lightness that uses a beautiful tone to create something that all should witness. This play delves into fighting for your beliefs, friendship, family and what it means to love.
“It’s definitely a dramatic piece, but it’s a piece that has a lot of heart and a lot of funny moments,” says Sam Sloan, the designer for These Shining Lives.
The show will be shown at Pierce College in the Blackbox Theatre which is located in the AAH building. It will show Nov. 7-9 at 7 p.m. Nichole’s mother will also be making an appearance at the end of each to show to share her experiences.
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