Hartford Stage is co-producing a free reading of Melanie Marnich's play These Shining Lives in collaboration with the American Clock and Watch Museum. The reading takes place in conjunction with the museum's exhibit, "The Role of Women in the Clock Industry: From Small Scale Painting to Large Scale Production." A reading of the play was first produced at Hartford Stage's Brand: NEW Festival of New Work in 2006.
These Shining Lives tells the story of four of the "radium girls," young women in the 1920s and 1930s who hand-painted numbers on the faces of clocks and watches with radium paint, subsequently becoming terminally ill and losing their jobs when they could no longer work. Theirs is a story of survival and transcendence, as they refuse to allow the company that stole their health to kill their spirits or endanger the lives of those who come after them.
Open to the public, first-come, first-served basis. Reservations suggested.
BALTIMORE -- If you want to spark a debate about whether playwrights or directors have the upper hand in theater these days, you could start with "These Shining Lives" at Center Stage.
Ostensibly a world premiere by Melanie Marnich, the imaginative production is primarily a calling card for director David Schweizer. Not that Schweizer's staging sabotages the play, which recalls real women in the 1920s and 1930s who grew sick and often died after years of painting watch dials with radium.
In fact, the show weaves Marnich's brief scenes together with splendid cinematic flair. Work tables glide silently into perfect rows, lovers' silhouettes fill a large silver screen, a patch of beach pops out of the stage floor. Schweizer and designer Alexander Dodge make expert use of the long runway stage in the Head Theater, and the production is in constant lovely motion.
Not long ago this level of artful activity around a void would be described as a...
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