Tag: Melanie Marnich
Find Time To See It!
Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents:
These Shining Lives
reviewed by Katy Walsh
Catherine is elated to be starting a new job painting 100+ watches a day at 8 cents a watch. Time is her friend? Or is it? Rivendell Theatre Ensemble remounts its critically acclaimed and Jeff Award nominated These Shining Lives. Directed by Rachel Walshe,These Shining Lives is the true story of four of the many women who work at the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, Illinois in the 1920’s. Unaware of the risk, these workers paint the glow-in-the-dark faces on watches utilizing radium. Women are voting, smoking in public and joining the workforce. Having a well-paying job in a challenging economy brings independence and validation. Later, suspecting that something isn’t quite right, the women struggle to not lose the freedom, security and camaraderie of employment. These Shining Lives uses a tragedy in history to illustrate the strong bonds of marriage and friendship.
As Catherine (Kathy Logelin) tells us at the beginning of the show “this story starts out as a fairy tale.” And she’s right – it’s enchanting! Playwright Melanie Marnich chooses the non-Silkwood route and focuses instead on the vulnerability and innocence of a young woman’s love for her husband, her job and her friends. The onstage intimacy between Logelin and her husband Tom (Guy Massey) isn’t of the sizzle variety (that never sustains anyway). It’s the “looks like you had a worse day at work than me, Katy, I’ll cook dinner” charming kind. Logelin also shines with her gal pals: Charlotte (Ashley Neal), Frances (Caitlin McGlone) and Pearl (Rani Waterman). They start as a work clique with mindless chatter to fill up the workday. “Gossip is the devil’s radio,” proclaims Frances. “It’s my favorite station,” quips Charlotte. Then, it’s six years later, and the women with whom Catherine has randomly been assigned to have become her family. And her family is dying. Under the direction of Rachel Walshe, the cast does an excellent job of portraying finding joy in the simplistic shininess of the everyday.
Throughout the play, we wonder why these women stick a radium laced paintbrush repeatedly in their mouth. This conjures up the ominous thought that perhaps sometime in the future, people may be surprised, but not shocked, to learn there is a link between cell phones and brain tumors….
Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is giving Chicago a second opportunity to find joy in the simplistic times of These Shining Lives. It would be a tragedy to miss it! (Remember to turn off your cell phone during the show.)
The offstage Tom described the show as beautiful, ornate and tragic.
Thursday, March 19
Tallgrass Gothic by Melanie Marnich
Enjoy grub (including buffalo burritos provided by Heartland Cafe) and beer at Champion’s Saloon (6156 N. Clark St.) across the street from the theater before seeing Caffeine Theatre’s latest play Tallgrass Gothic. Inspired by the Jacobean tragedy The Changeling, Melanie Marnich weaves from desire, fear, and longing a starkly beautiful prairie ghost story. A young woman’s hunger for new beginning sets off a chain of violence that unravels her small town. Following the performance, join artists from both Tallgrass Gothic and its repertory partner The Changeling for a look into the process of repertory and of working with adaptation.
Event begins at Champion’s at 7 p.m.
Show begins at 8:30 p.m.
For reservations call 312.409.4778 and mention “Theater Thursdays.”
Play location: West Stage of the Raven Theatre Complex
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