Yoh Players "These Shining Lives" #WoodstockVT #VT #vtarts #vtarts2016 #vermontstandard #WUHS #YohPlayers

Thursday May 5, 2016
Yoh Theatre Players Rehearsal
Woodstock Union High School
Woodstock, Vermont

"These Shining Lives" was performed by the Yoh Theatre Players this past weekend in Woodstock. The play was written by Melanie Marnich and is based on the true story of four women who worked in a watch factory in Ottawa, Illinois; the play dramatizes the danger women faced in the workforce in the 1920s, and the lack of concern by companies for protecting the health of their employees.

Remember those glow-in the dark watches and clocks, well you probably never gave the "glow" a second thought.

Catherine Donohue, played by Paitra Martin, narrates the story of four women working at good jobs in a factory in Illinois. The job, which seems easy enough to these women, is painting the hour markings onto different sized watch dials using a radium compound which glows in the dark. The company, Radium Dial, tells women that there is no evidence that radium is harmful, and even has health benefits.

After a few years, the workers notice that their hands start glowing in the dark, but assume that it is just from the radium powder that is used to paint the faces. The ladies develop ailments, including jaw infections and bone pain, but several local doctors (one portrayed by Dune Mayberger) tell them that all they need is aspirin, which of course does not help.

After years of search, they find a doctor who is willing to put his name on the line and diagnose the women with radium poisoning (Dr. Dalitsch played by Eli Larabee). This in turn helps the four main characters decide to file a lawsuit against Radium Dial. An attorney, Leonard J. Grossman (Ian Dupont), agrees to take the case for free with Donohue as the lead plaintiff. They win, but Donohue dies as a result of the radium's effects. The real Catherine Donohue died on July 27, 1938, shortly after testifying before the Illinois Industrial Commission. The play premiered in 2008 at the Head Theater at Centerstage in Baltimore, Maryland under the direction of David Schweizer.

These Shining Lives
Yoh Theatre Players
Yoh Theatre, Woodstock Union High School
Woodstock, VT May 5, 2016
Copyright ©2016 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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