Friday, Sept. 4, 2009

Staged Readings At the Broadway Theater Center

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Amidst the flurry of fully-staged theatre openings that will be happening in the next few weeks, the Broadway Theatre Center’s Skylight Bar and Bistro will be playing host to two different staged readings on two consecutive Mondays.



On Monday, the 14th of September, Renaissance Theaterworks presents a staged reading of These Shining Lives--a new work by Melanie Marnich that debuted elsewhere just last year. It’s one of those cautionary tales from the mid-twentieth century. Set in Chicago in the 1920’s, the play tells the story of a group of women who worked for the Radium Dial Company. Their job seemed simple and innocuous in its time, but seen with 21st century eyes, one can quickly see the problem—evidently their job was to paint the face of these watches with glow-in-the-dark faces. They were painting clock faces with radioluminescent paint containing radium. This isn’t an invention on the part of the playwright Marnich . . . somewhere around 195, the Radium Dial Company of Chicago was employing somewhere around 1,000 young women to work paint highly hazardous material on some 4,300 watch faces per day. The dial painters were some of the first victims of radiation poisoning. No warning was given to the workers about the toxicity of the material they were working with. The play focuses on the plight of Catherin Donohue—one such woman who worked for Radium Dial in the 1920’s.




Renaissance Theaterworks’ staged reading of These Shining Lives will start at 7:30 pm on Monday, the 14th.



Then, On Monday the 21st at 7:30 pm, the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s   Montgomery Davis Play Development Series presents a staged reading of James DeVita’s The Desert Queen. Written by APT resident actor, the staged reading will feature the APT’s Sarah Day in the role of Gertrude Bell—a British administrator and suffragist who helped to create the modern state of Iraq in the early 1920’s. The reading will be performed free of charge with seating being given on a first com first served basis.

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