Fall play showcases shining cast and crew

Sophomores Jenny Ward and David Timm perform in “These Shining Lives.” Photo by Dianna Wood.

By Jordan Lewis

The fall play, “These Shining Lives,” took center stage in Kresge Auditorium during Homecoming weekend.

Written by Melanie Marnich, the play tells the tale of what four women undergo in the 1930s as workingwomen who paint numbers on clocks at a factory.

A true story, it chronicles the change that comes about through their pursuit of equality and fairness in the work place.

The inspiring script caught the attention of Jerry Cohagan, director and communication professor.

“I read [the script] about a year ago and it continued to resonate with me, and that’s usually how I choose a play,” he said. “I’ll read several plays during the course of a year and see which one stays with me.”

Before the semester began, Cohagan built the set with the help of several students.

The set features three clock pieces and a clock face painted on the stage floor around the pieces.

Painting and preparing the set took hours.

“It probably took me 40 hours to paint,” junior Shelby VanBuren said.  “I was in there at least six days a week for three weeks.”

Despite the long hours, VanBuren liked her work.

“I enjoy it because I got to go in there by myself,” she said. “It was relaxing and therapeutic in many ways.”

While crewmembers created the set, the 10 cast members practiced several hours five evenings a week.

Some of the cast viewed the play as a challenging learning experience.

“It’s been a struggle to be a freshman with this big of a role,” Courtney Weihman, one of the lead actresses, said.

Sophomore Hannah Williams, another lead actress, had to work to manage her time, and learn to put energy and effort into each practice.

Despite the challenges some of the cast faced, their work impressed Cohagan.

“It’s a great story, and I’ve got a wonderful cast,” he said.

The play debuted Nov. 11 and 12 in Larsen Fine Arts Center.

“I had never been to a play at Olivet before, and after attending ‘These Shining Lives,’ I realized how much I’ve been missing out on the last four years,” senior Allison McGuire said. “The story was touching and I was captivated from the beginning wondering what would happen next.”

The play has two more performances 7 p.m. Nov. 18 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 19.

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