Cove theater presents award-winning play, These Shining Lives
Special to Leader-Press
Factory workers Catherine Donahue, Charlotte Purcell, Pearl Payne, and Frances O’ Connell, who took the Radium Dial Company to court, changed worker’s rights legislation in the United States forever.
Copperas Cove High School theater arts students present These Shining Lives, a one-act play based on the true story of the Radium Girls of the 1920’s and 30’s. These factory workers made clocks and watches using a radium powder and often ingested the compound during the workday. Hundreds of these female workers eventually succumbed to the various diseases that the radium inflicted on them, all under the watchful eye of supervisors who knew of their plight and did nothing.
CCHS senior Kaitlyn Huston won the UIL All-Star Cast Award for her portrayal of Catherine Donohue, the main worker that took the corrupt company to court and won.
“Playing Catherine, the strong and dedicated woman who took it upon herself to get justice for millions of workers, has made me look at myself, and the world around me differently. She has made me a stronger person in the face of adversity,” Huston said. “As a woman, playing Catherine showed me first-hand how women weren’t taken seriously or even respected by men nearly 100 years ago. I feel that now, our culture is moving in the right direction to make women just as equal and respected as men, but we still have more work to do.”
CCHS theater arts teacher Cody Edgar said the challenge in creating the play was telling the story truthfully.
“We stressed the importance of authenticity to our students, reminding them that everyone in this story is a real person who lived in this country and dealt with its problems,” Edgar said. “A major theme in this story is how men have historically ignored the plight of women who were literally left to die. We wanted to honor these women, which proved to be an intense experience for our actors, especially those playing the four main women.”
The one-act play captured first place in the Zone Competition for CCHS advancing it to the district contest and finally to the regional competition garnering multiple awards for its actors and stage crew.
CCHS senior Tatiana Morales received Honorable Mention All Star Cast in her role as Charlotte Purcell, the fiery leader of the group of women.
“Taking on the role of Charlotte was intimidating knowing I needed to take responsibility of telling such a big story,” Morales said. “Her outspoken sass and big personality throughout the story was a force to be reckoned with and I enjoyed playing this role.
“Within these rounds of competition, people tend to get caught up in the competitive nature. But as the one-act play process continued, it became less about the competition and the placement of the show, and more about telling the story of these women who had to fight harder than they ever had to before and finally get the world to hear them speak.”
If you go…
The multiple award-winning one-act play, These Shining Lives, is presented by the Copperas Cove High School Dawghouse Theater for only three public performances at 7 p.m. on April 6, April 11 and April 13 at Lea Ledger Auditorium, 400 S. 25th Street. Admission is $3.
The CCHS cast and crew, under the advisement of theater teachers Cody Edgar and Mason Tabor, won UIL awards with this production including first place in the Zone Competition and advancement to bi-district, district and regional competitions.
Vincent Fauntleroy- Best Actor
Kaitlyn Huston- All Star Cast
Tatiana Morales- Honorable Mention All Star Cast
Tatum Hines- Honorable Mention All Star Cast
Logan Stock- Honorable Mention All Star Cast
Rachel Tabor- Outstanding Technician
Miracle Davis- Outstanding Technician
Jasmyn Gilliam- Outstanding Technician
Best Crew award at the Bi-District competition