Boot and Buskin presents “These Shining Lives”
Maggie Conley, Staff Writer
February 16, 2012
Filed under Arts & Leisure
While students were relaxing during the last week of winter break, a small number of other students were beginning to rehearse for the first Boot and Buskin show of the spring semester. That show, entitled “These Shining Lives,” will now be performed for all of Le Moyne and the public starting with a student preview tonight at 8 p.m. in the W. Carroll Coyne Center for the Performing Arts.
When given a brief synopsis of the story, many are quick to assume it’s “about death,” but after speaking with the director Bill Morris, one realizes it’s so much more than that.
“The show represents what happened to many young women who worked in the Radium Dial Company factories during the 1920s,” Morris said, “whose job it was to paint watch faces.”
The watches in question were designed to glow in the dark and the women painted them with radium paste by twirling the brushes in their mouths.
This particular play is not about an isolated case that happened in history; rather, it’s about hundreds of women whose lives were forever altered because of the opportunity they were granted work for long hours and good pay.
“It’s based on real women who worked in these factories,” Morris said, “but four specific women are representing the large number of individuals who were affected by the deadly radium and became known as ‘radium girls.’”
“The story introduces the audience to the courage of these women and the manner in which they met this challenge,” Morris noted. “It encourages us a little bit about some of the objects we love so much. For those who don’t know the story, I look forward to introducing them to that.”
Even though the story takes place nearly a century ago, the story of these brave women who met their daunting fate is one that many today can find relevance to in their own lives.
“It’s an important piece of American history but it speaks to issues that are with us today,” Morris said, “particularly workplace safety and corporate safety.”
“I’m very pleased with the commitment of the cast and crew,” Morris said. “They’re very good and it was a real delight for me. We spent a lot of time making sure we got the tone right. We’re not trying to present an evening with a hopeless, mockish theme. Hopefully, it will be more inspiring than depressing, even though the story is quite sad. It’s a story more about living than dying. It celebrates the workers’ lives rather than making simple victims out of them.”
Performances run Feb. 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $4 and can be reserved at the PAC office. A $1 student preview will take place Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m.