Eagan High School Spring Play 2021
"These Shining Lives" by Melanie Marnich
Directed by Nancy Owzarek
Main Roles for 4 Radium Girls
Movement Roles for 4 “dead” radium girls in glowing dresses. These four girls need be have a natural sense of movement. Dance training is helpful but not essential. They will also double as reporters with speaking lines. Girls considered for these roles must come to callbacks on Monday, April 12.
Roles for 4 men. Some small male roles will be doubled.
Join Google Classroom: CODE ycmvd23 (if you don’t have Google Classroom on your ipad desktop, download it on self-service)
Prepare and film two of the audition monologes (your choice). Upload to Google Classroom by Saturday night, April 10.
Complete the audition form and upload to google classroom by April 10.
CATHERINE DONOHUE (F) 19-29 - A historical person who worked in the Radium Dial Factory, who became ill and legally fought the company for radium poisoning for over seven years. She died weighing 71 pounds and 21 days after being awarded only $5,000. Her case changed Illinois law so companies could be held responsible for the safety of their workers. Independent, strong, scared and a resolute young woman. A young wife and mother of two.
CHARLOTTE (F) 24-29 – A worker at the factory. She is outspoken and hard-boiled. She is competitive and has a biting sense of humor. Underneath this front, however, she is just as kind-hearted as her friends.
FRANCES (F) 24-29 - A worker at the factory. She is the ‘moral backbone of the group but is more flexible than she lets on. She acts as a mediator during the beginning of the show between Charlotte and Catherine.
PEARL (F) 24-29 - A worker alongside Catherine at the factory. Sweet and supportive she is the “joker of the group.” But Pearl has a hard time coming to terms with her developing illness.
TOM DONOHUE (M) 27-32 - The husband of Catherine Donohue, a riveter on the skyscrapers of Chicago. He loves Catherine and is extremely devoted to her.
MR. REED (M) 40-50 - The overseer of the factory. His heart is usually with the girls, but when put under pressure he is a pawn of the Radium Dial factory and has to follow orders.
DR. ROWNTREE (M) - He extols the benefits of radium to cure common illnesses. Will be combined with another role.
LEONARD GROSSMAN (M) - A brash lawyer who has enough courage to take the girls’ case. He is disturbed by the company’s treatment of Catherine and her friends.
COMPANY DOCTOR (M) 30-50 - Much like Mr. Reed, the Company doctor is a pawn of the Radium Dial Company. He denies that the girl’s illnesses are related to their working conditions and the radium they are exposed to. May be combined with another role.
RADIO ANNOUNCER (M/F) - Much like Dr. Rowntree, the radio announcer makes a performance out of selling radium to the public. Boasting of its benefits and popularity, he sells the product along with a trio of radio station singers. Will be combined with another role.
Four female actors will be the dead radium girls in glowing dresses. Movement will be ethereal and angelic-like. You will work with an awesome choreographer, Jolene Konkel who has some cool ideas for this idea. These four actors will also have lines as the news reporters in the play.
Audition Monologues: You don’t have to memorize the entire monologue but know it quite well. You can have it on your screen so you can see the words.
TOM: In the war, I…I saw things that no human being should ever have to see. A guy comes back from something like that, and he can’t believe in God. It’s impossible. That’s what anyone’ll tell you. I was raised to believe in God and the saints and in miracles. But then there was this war and after it, I couldn’t believe in anything good. But when I first saw Katie, the first thing, the only thing I thought when I saw her face was that there had to be a God, because he made her. That was the only explanation. And I was a praying man again. Talk about a miracle. Do you know that they pulled bones out of her body while she was still alive. Lifted them right out. I was going to grow old with that woman. I was going to die with her. Maybe I have. Could you tell me how to live my life now? Could you tell me what I’m going to do with all this time? I have to go. I have to go see my kids. I have to get home before they go to bed. I sing to them. They sing to me. A lullaby. Even though we’re all too old for it. It’s our little routine. It makes us feel better. It’s just something we do. Sir? Just so you know… Every morning I wake up and wonder if today’s the day I’m going to kill Rufus Reed.
MR. GROSSMAN: This is disgusting. An absolute crying shame. Yes, I’ll take your case. No, I won’t make any money. You might not make any money either. But that’s not the point, is it? We can't go to court with all of you all at the same time. We want impact. Clarity. Focus. And, quite frankly, we need the most egregious and flagrant example of the miscarriage of employer responsibility among you. Bluntly put, who’s the biggest mess? I’m going to need specifics. We’ll build our case on specifics. Specifics win a case. We can get those guys I know we can. But they’ll put you through the wringer Mrs. Donohue. Are you up to it? It’s gonna get dirty. It’s gonna get mean. It’s gonna hit the papers and God knows what they do to a story, good, bad, and otherwise. You’ll be the example of everything that’s wrong with big business. You’ll be the casualty of commerce. You’ll be called a victim. You’ll be called an opportunist. You’ll be called a saint. You’ll be called a liar. Your dirty laundry will be aired in public for the world to see. And you’ll be standing there naked before the judge, jury, and a public hungry for blood and guts. That’s how it works. You up for it? Or do you want to think about it? Take all the time you need.
CHARLOTTE: Stop it Katie! Just shut up! You can’t make it better, okay?! So stop trying with your silly optimism. It’s ridiculous. Grow up. They did this to us! They did this and they knew it! They threw us away for a few watches! That’s what we’re worth! That’s what you’re worth! So spare me the “maybe this” and “maybe that,” okay?! It does me no good. I’m— I’m so sorry. I just don’t— I don’t have anyone else to— Who’s gonna take care of my mom, Katie? Who’s gonna take care of her? Okay. That’s that, then. I better get home. You, too. Big day today, huh? I’ll see you later.
CHARLOTTE (In a rush of storytelling.)… And I told him, “I absolutely intend to strike this match. And I can smoke if I want to. All the girls are doing it. You live in a cave? Haven’t you picked up a magazine?” And I threw my Collier’s magazine at him, pointed to the picture of the girl in the Chesterfields ad and said, “There. Isn’t she sharp?” Besides, if men can do it, so can we, right? I can smoke all night and day if I want to accept that I have to work and that’s using my hands, which wouldn’t leave them free to smoke, but if I could, I would. I’d smoke and drink gin and shimmy and he said, “Charlotte, you’d look like a harlot,” and he didn’t even think that was funny. That fella’s so tight if you put a piece of coal up his—
CATHERINE: This isn’t a fairytale, though it starts like one. This isn’t a tragedy, though it ends like one. It’s something else. We’re something else. We’re the wonder. The heroes. The cure. The failures. We are progress in history. We are the news. But we are just girls who wanted to work. Ordinary girls. I live in Ottowa, Illinois in a brick house on a quiet street. I grow tomatoes and peas and pansies. I have a husband who I love. I have two children who I love. When my husband touches me, I know I can fly. They say you see your life flash before your eyes. That you see a light-that you move toward it. But you don’t. You tell your story, beginning and middle as it was written and the end as it comes. Once you’ve told it, then you can rest. Then your real work is done.
CATHERINE: There is a God. And he is made of time. There is a devil, and he’s made of time. There are angels, miracles, and sins, and they’re all made of hours. On the shore of the lake with my friends that last time. I watched the kids play and thought of my boy and girl. I watched the husbands and wives and thought of the man I loved. I walked to the water. I walked in. I stood there Small waves and grace all around. Faith at the edge of the world. And I think, lucky me, that I still believe in it all. After all of this. And then a gift. A million clocks stopped in the city. Watches closed their eyes. Their hands folded. Their faces slept. The earth stopped turning. And time stood still for just a minute, just for us. The moon came out. The stars came out. Time was kind, after all. And I knew I was blessed to have held so much of it in my hands. In the quiet, in the water, I could see my face. Next to mine, the faces of everyone I love. The faces of my friends. And so many more. All looking back at me. For that moment, while time turned its face, we were all there. And we were shining.
CATHERINE: Everyone I talk to says this job is a piece of cake. All the girls on the block applied for it. I just got lucky. Besides, I’ll just do it for a while, till we get on our feet. Then I’ll quit. ( Tom frowns) Don’t worry. I don’t want to be some, some career girl. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. But for a little while I want to know what it feels like to make eight dollars a week. Just once. I want to be that person. (after first day of work)
I walked home that night in the dark. A girl walks differently when she’s making money.
I thought to myself, ten years ago a girl like me couldn’t even vote, let alone make this kind of money. Couldn’t do better than her father and just as good as her husband. Couldn’t even smoke. But now? I never dreamed I’d have a job of my own that was this good.