`Lives' takes up cause of workers

Strong drama seems one-sided

Theater Review

May 03, 2008|By Mary Carole McCauley | Mary Carole McCauley,Sun theater critic

Melanie Marnich's These Shining Lives -- a world premiere based on the real-life poisoning of female workers at a watch factory -- is genuinely tragic, but it's also as one-sided and gilded as the faces of its tainted timepieces.

The play, running at Center Stage, is based on a landmark workers' compensation case filed by employees of the Radium Dial Co. in the 1930s. When the factory moved to Ottawa, Ill., many women thought they'd found their dream job painting faces on watch dials. They received a high wage for relatively undemanding work in comfortable surroundings.

If you go These Shining Lives runs at Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., through June 1. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $10-$60. Call 410-332-0033 or go to centerstage.org.

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