Student-Directed Play “Shines” on Stage

Written By Elizabeth Funderburk, Staff Writer

The girls playing poker.
The girls playing poker.

Senior Olivia “Liv” Trusty had a busy weekend. After giving a presentation at ACSC, she watched her directing efforts come to fruition in These Shining Lives (which was then followed by her performance with the Improv Troupe). The show was the result of weeks of rehearsals in which Liv, the actors and the tech crew poured their heart and soul into the process.

Although I couldn’t physically see the show during the live performances as I had to be backstage for my duties as an Assistant Stage Manager, I could hear it, and more importantly, hear the reactions of the audience. Admittedly, they were quiet on Thursday night, but by Friday and Saturday, their laughter roared throughout the room during the funny parts and I was told that several people had been moved to tears by the time the plot shifted from lighthearted to despairing. 

The show, based on a true story, revolved around four women who worked for the Radium Dial Company painting watches with radium. At the start of the play, it’s portrayed as a great opportunity for them in a time when women were only just starting to move into the workforce. It allows for the characters to bond and become close friends for the rest of their lives… the tragically short rest of their lives, as it turns out, because during the second half of the play, they are diagnosed with radium poisoning. Despite the pain they are facing, they vow to fight the company for knowingly putting them in harm’s way. Spoiler alert: they win the case. But it’s not quite a happy ending: they still die in the end, after all. Those who enjoyed These Shining Lives or want to see more from the Austin College theatre department should check out the upcoming production of Assassins that will be performed on April 28th, 29th, and 30th.

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