Rivendell Theatre Ensemble Makes History When These Shining Lives Appears in Ottawa, Illinois.
December 3-5 Limited Engagement Benefits “Radium Girls” Memorial (Chicago and Ottawa, IL) Chicago’s Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE)’s critically acclaimed production of These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich makes an historic, ground-breaking appearance December 3-5 in , Illinois-the home of the real-life “Radium Girls.”
Directed by Rachel Walshe, These Shining Lives tells the story of the young women employed at Ottawa’s Radium Dial and Luminous Processes watch and clock factories in the 1920s and 30s. While employers assured the women’s safety, their exposure to and ingestion of radium-based paint proved deadly.
Ottawa’s history is coming to the forefront with this telling story . The Radium Dial Company employed about one thousand local women to paint dials primarily for their largest customer, the Westclox clock factory in Peru, Illinois that made the ubiquitous “Big Ben” alarm clock. In an era with few occupations open to women, the pay at the dial painting factories was significantly better that most alternatives — as much as three times more — and the factories had little trouble filling positions. The women, many of them girls fresh out of high school, became part of a phenomenon that would become known collectively as the “Radium Girls”.
The production in Ottawa-Walshe’s third remount, following two sold-out engagements in Chicago-features a cast of Kathy Logelin, Ashley Neal, Marika Engelhardt, Hilary Williams, Guy Massey and Mark Ulrich. “so poignantly rendered that you can almost hear the clocks of the characters’ lives ticking away”(Chicago Sun-Times)
Founded by Walt Willey (All My Children) and Kim “Howard” Johnson to revive community theater in the Ottawa area, Willeyworld Community Productions selected These Shining Lives as its first imported production due to its local historical significance. This production is sponsored by the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Visitors Center, IVCC Ottawa Center, and Willeyworld Community Productions.
These Shining Lives takes the stage at Ottawa High School Auditorium (203 East Main Street) on December 3 and 4 at 7:30pm and December 5, at 2:30pm. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door; $5 with student I.D. Call (815) 434-2737 or visit www.experienceottawa.com In addition, two performances which include local history lessons are planned for students.