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'These Shining Lives' Comes to Silver Spring Stage

A true story about the lives of four women working in a 1920s clock factory comes to life in a new play.

“This is not a fairytale, although it starts out like one. This is not a tragedy, although it ends like one,” is one of the first lines said in the Silver Spring Stage play These Shining Lives according to producer Seth Ghitelman.

Written by Melanie Marnich, These Shining Lives is based on a true story about four women who work in a clock factory in Chicago in the 1920s. After working in the factory for several years, the women begin to develop health problems and this play is about their courage to stand up against their work conditions, Ghitelman explined. But Ghitelman wants to make it clear that the purpose of the play is not for the “women to appear as victims.”

The audience will experience “a lot of laughter and a lot of sadness when [they] realize what happened to these women,” said Ghitelman, who also said that these women went through a lot of legal woes to gain their rights, with their case eventually making it to the Supreme Court.

“It’s a dramatic play that has humorous moments,” said director Bob Benn.

Benn, who has worked with Silver Spring Stage before as a director, said that one of his biggest challenges with directing this play was trying to make the characters interesting enough for the audience to enjoy, while also keeping them true to who they are because the story is based on real people.

Because it’s based on a true story, the ability to create entertaining scenes with just the right amount of detail for the play was also challenging, Ghitelman said. With several different scenes that take place in various locations from a factory, to homes, to Chicago, it’s hard to represent all of these scenes in a short period of time.

“Finding the right amount of scenery and props needed” was a key component, he said.

Ghitelman, who has been with Silver Spring Stage for about 10 years, said that it’s the play's involvement with the human spirit that prompted him to become a part of the production.

“I’m always interested in plays that deal with the human spirit and the underclass,” he said. “In other words, people who are forgotten. I think it’s interesting to bring that out on stage.”

Tickets for These Shining Lives, which runs through Nov. 17, are available online now, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday matinees.

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