These Shining Lives – An Inside Look at FB One Act Play

These Shining Lives - An Inside Look at FB One Act Play

Isabella Skinner, Editor-in-Chief

Flour Bluff High School’s UIL One Act Play, These Shining Lives, left for the UIL One Act Play Area Competition in Harlingen, Texas on Friday. The team placed 5th overall.

“Even though we didn’t win or advance to Regionals, I felt satisfied about the competition because we beat Veterans Memorial who were our biggest competitors in Corpus. The run we did was the best run-through we had ever done. Even though we lost, we made it all the way to Area which is a huge accomplishment all on its own,” said freshman Scottie McCormick.

These Shining Lives tells the story of the the Ottawa, Illinois Radium Girls. The girls worked at Radium Dial Watch Factory, where they were paid to paint watches with glow in the dark paint that contained radium. The girls were instructed to point the paintbrushes with their teeth, and because of this, the girls were exposed to a triple dose of radium poisoning: one from pointing their paintbrushes, one from the jars of paint, and one from the watches already painted.

The girls faced bone cancer, necrosis of the jaw, rotting teeth, broken bones, anemia, and other acute radium poisoning symptoms. They sued Radium Dial and won, but not before many of the girls passed away at very young ages.

The play featured Nora Wold as Catherine Wolfe Donahue, the most famous of the Ottawa Radium Girls, who gave her testimony for the lawsuit on her death bed, according to Library of Congress Blogs.

“I certainly felt a connection to my character in the play. She is not a made up individual, but a real person whose story I was honored enough to share. She was a strong, persistent woman who helped to break the mold in the 1920s and 30s, both by entering a male dominated work force and then seeking legal justice, which was unheard of for women at the time,” said Wold.

There were three other “radium girls”, who were also called the “Living Dead,” portrayed in the play: Charlotte Purcell, Frances O’Connell, and Pearl Payne. They were played by Rabekah White, Emily VanDerostyne, and Sophia Bateson, respectively.

“One of my favorite things about our play is how real it is. These were real people and the impact these women had for workers today and even for the country is overlooked a lot, it’s still a great thing to read about and learn more about what these people went through,” said Corbin Griffin, who played Tom Donahue, the husband of Catherine Donahue.

The crew also worked very hard on the costumes and sets, making the production work as a whole. Zoe Saldana, the Student Technical Director, won two Tech awards. The Tech Award is awarded to standouts on the technical aspect, or “all-star tech.” Judges watch backstage and decide the winners based on performance during the tech rehearsal. One person from each school is chosen for this award.

“I was extremely surprised when I won the two tech awards because of the amount of hard work all of the techies put in! I was very proud of myself and all of the hard work I did for this production, and excited that it got recognized,” said Saldana.

The technical crew doesn’t just consist of props, sets and costumes. An important part of the crew is the hair and makeup team, tasked with performing authentic 1920s/1930s hair and makeup.

“From a hair and makeup standpoint, this show was such a blast as it is set in the 1920s and 30s. I feel that period accurate hair and makeup can help immerse the audience in the story of the play. It was such an honor to be a part of that,” said junior Arden Rolf, Hair and Makeup Director.

Overall, the students from One Act have a resounding pride in going as far as they did.

“I think that the story of the Radium Girls and everything they went through is really moving. I am so glad that we picked this show because it is such an important story that created systems to protect people in the workforce. This experience of One Act was so amazing and the entire cast feels like a family. Everyone poured their heart and soul into the show, and made it shine as it does now. Everyone who was apart of it should feel so proud,” said Saldana.