Historic drama coming to Hesston College stage

These Shining Lives promotional photo

Hesston College Theatre will present four performances of the fall drama These Shining Lives, directed by Rachel Jantzi, Nov. 12 to 15 in the 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 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 physically takes a stand in a case that hit the Supreme Court.

“[This play] is about real women and actual events,” said Jantzi. “It tackles the theme of corporate greed at the expense of the workforce and the power of a few individuals to make a difference, in spite of the odds.”

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 result is a gripping show that mirrors life.

“It’s hard and wonderful and tragic and funny and beautiful,” said Jantzi. “The snapshot style of storytelling in ‘These Shining Lives’ adds to the constant pace that family, friends, work and life in general expects from us.”

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12 through Saturday, Nov. 14 and 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 15. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time. The show is rated PG.

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. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended due to limited seating. Tickets will also be available at the door 30 minutes prior to show time and are subject to availability.