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Robsham Season Opens Oct. 18


By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: Oct. 4, 2012

The true, compelling story of the “radium girls” — young women in the 1920s and ‘30s who painted the faces of luminous watches and clocks, unknowingly becoming some of the early victims of radium poisoning — will come to campus this month as the Robsham Theater Arts Center fall season opens.

“These Shining Lives,” which runs Oct. 18-21 and is directed by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre Patricia Riggin, is set in Chicago and Ottawa, Ill., home of the Radium Dial Company. Melanie Marnich’s play depicts the story of Catherine Donohue, from when she began she began work at the factory in 1922 — with the excitement of a newly liberated woman entering the workforce — through the litigation she pursued into the late 1930s, when she and other young women workers found themselves at the center of a landmark labor law case.

Calling it a “transcendent story,” organizers say “These Shining Lives” — which is being presented by the Theatre Department — interweaves aspects of law, social and women’s history, and the personal details of the women’s lives. The play, they note, raises issues relevant in the 21st century, notably the hazardous conditions faced by many workers around the globe today.

“The Arabian Nights,” adapted by Mary Zimmerman from the ancient Arabic Tales and directed by Associate Professor of Theatre John Houchin, will be presented by the Theatre Department Nov. 15-18.

This adaptation blends lesser-known tales with the recurring theme of the transformational power of storytelling. In the story, the maiden Scheherazade manages to avoid her own execution for 1,001 nights, by mesmerizing her husband, the cruel King Shahryar, with cliffhanger tales of love, honor, deception or revenge. As a result, he is cured of his madness and Scheherazade returns to her family.

Organizers describe the production as comprising “sumptuous music, dance and design, which promise to make it an epic theatrical feast.”

More information on the productions, which will be performed on Robsham’s main stage — including details on cast and crew members, as well as the full 2012-13 season — is available at

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students with a valid ID, and $10 for seniors and BC faculty and staff (one ticket per ID). For tickets, visit or call the Robsham Theater Box Office (ext.2-4012), or see