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Duluth Native Written Play Hits UMD Stage

Updated: February 28, 2018 08:50 AM

'These Shining Lives' tells the story of powerful women who forced a historic change in workers' rights. The play is being brought to life on the UMD stage beginning Thursday, March 1.

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The production is set in Ottowa, Illinois in the 1920s. The women depicted are a group of painters who pushed back against a company that wasn't providing a safe work place for their employees.

The company, named Radium Dial, would employ people to paint clock faces with radium paint. The painters would lick their brushes to make the brushes pointed. After a few years, the women started to notice themselves getting sick, and believed it was due to the radium. However, the company said that radium has no harmful effects and even has some health benefits.

Guest Scenic Designer, Ann Gumpper explains that many doctors believed radium was medicinal in certain situations as well. The women would search, and eventually find a doctor that believed they were being effected. This leads to a series of historic court battles that would change safety in the work place forever.

The play was written by Duluth Native Melanie Marnich. She's been working with students throughout rehearsals.

"I was surprised by how down to earth she was, " Department Head of Theatre, Mark Harvey says.

He explains that Marnich was very patient with them and answered every question they had, whether it was about the play or about show business in general.

The play is being performed on the Dudley Experimental Theatre stage at the Marshall Performing Arts Center located on campus.

It runs March 1 -3 and 13 - 17 at 7:30 p.m. There is also one matinee showing on the 18th at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $21 for adults, $16 for seniors, UMD faculty and staff, and veterans, $10 for non-UMD students and $8 for students.

Click here to buy tickets.


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