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UW Theatre and Dance Season Continues With ‘These Shining Lives’

November 29, 2021
three women on a stage
From left, UW students Katarina Tyler, Mary Dyson, Lauren Asher and Aubree Tafoya rehearse a scene from “These Shining Lives.” The UW Department of Theatre and Dance production runs Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 9-10 in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance fall season continues with “These Shining Lives” Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 2-4, and Thursday and Friday, Dec. 9-10.

“These Shining Lives” is a dramatization of the story of the real-life “Radium Girls,” women factory workers in the 1920s and 1930s whose strength and determination in the face of adversity helped to create safer workplaces for everyone.

The production runs in person in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2-4; at 2 p.m. Dec. 4; and at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10. The director is Patrick Konesko, an associate professor in the UW Department of Theatre and Dance. 

Tickets are $14 for the public; $11 for senior citizens; and $7 for students. To purchase tickets, visit the Performing Arts box office, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.

“There are a few reasons I’m excited to work on this play,” Konesko says. “One is the startling relevancy of the piece to prominent debates in workplace safety and corporate greed today.”

The award-winning drama by Melanie Marnich centers on four women who, in the economic boom of the post-war 1920s, have good jobs at the Radium Dial Co. in Ottawa, Ill., painting the faces on watches with luminous, radium-rich paint. 

Newly prosperous and independent, the women have bright futures ahead of them until, one by one, they begin falling ill with mysterious ailments. When the cause of their maladies finally becomes clear, the women must find a way to act.  

“The beauty of this play is in its exploration of sacrifice, courage and solidarity,” Konesko says.

The story of the Radium Girls and the toxic and deadly levels of radium poisoning of over 4,000 factory workers is true. The real-life Radium Girls took their company to court and achieved a long-lasting victory over corporations with poor workplace conditions, helping to establish occupational disease labor laws.

“I’m also interested in exploring the history of the labor movement, what has been sacrificed and what is being lost as we work to remove organized labor in the U.S.,” Konesko says. 

For more information, call Kathy Kirkaldie, UW Fine Arts coordinator, at (307) 766-2160 or email kirisk@uwyo.edu.

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