These Shining Lives premieres Wednesday

by Emily Kauffman – Horizon Features Editor

Starting on Wednesday Nov. 11 the Hesston College Theatre will present four performances of the fall drama “These Shining Lives,” directed by Rachel Jantzi, in Helmuth Studio Theatre in the Northlawn Center for Performing Arts Education on the Hesston College campus.

Set in the 1920’s, “These Shining Lives,” by Melanie Marnich, is the true story of Catherine Donahue and her journey as an employee painting watch faces for the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, Illinois. When Catherine can no longer walk due to radium poisoning, her family and friends support her as she literally takes a stand in a case that hit the Supreme Court.

Anna Martin - Charolette Percell, paints a watch at her work. Photo by Olivia Copsey
Anna Martin – Charolette Percell, paints a watch at her work. Photo by Olivia Copsey

“One of the most challenging aspects of this play has been experiencing the emotions that go into it,” said Anna Martin who plays the role of Charlotte in the play. “No matter how many times my lines come out of my mouth, I am still hit with the incredible hurt and strength that these women show. It has been challenging to do these women justice, and show them respect through the telling of their story.

Jantzi, in her first year as Hesston College theatre faculty, said she chose this show for many reasons, the main one being the students.

As I stepped into this new position I was fortunate enough to already be familiar with the talent level of our students,” said Jantzi. “This is an extremely hard show: thematically, emotionally and technically. I knew this particular group of actors and tech crew would be challenged, but that they would handle the story beautifully and respectfully.”

The students also know the play is worth seeing.

“Students should come see ‘These Shining Lives’ because not only does it have a wonderful story that will have you laughing and crying, it’s applicable,” said Zac Headings, who plays the role of Tom in the show. “This story applies to the sciences. It applies to the humanities. It applies to the arts. It applies to all of us.”

A picture of what the watches look like that are hidden around campus.
Watches like these are hidden around campus. Find one and get two free tickets.

Students are invited to a final dress rehearsal at 7 p.m. Wednesday for $3. To receive free tickets to see “These Shining Lives” students are invited to participate in the Campus Activities Board watch hunt. The Campus Activities Board is hiding four pocket watches (very similar to the watches in the show) in faculty and staff offices. Starting today, students should visit offices to look for the watches.  They are easily visible, so students should not go through faculty or staffs things. If a watch is found, the student should take the watch to the bookstore where they will receive two free tickets.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12 through Saturday, Nov. 14 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15. Doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Tickets are $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for students and children. Tickets can be purchased through the Hesston College Bookstore in person, by phone at 620-327-8104 or online at books.hesston.edu. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended due to limited seating. Tickets will also be available at the door 30 minutes prior to showtime and are subject to availability.

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