STONEHAM — The title “These Shining Lives” suggests something extraordinary, almost magical. In the Stoneham Theatre production, even Cristina Tedesco’s ethereal set creates a fairy tale atmosphere, where time is suspended above the day-to-day grind of working-class lives.
Set in the 1920s and early ’30s in the fictional Radium Dial Factory on the outskirts of Chicago, Melanie Marnich’s “These Shining Lives” is inspired by the true story of the young women who worked at a New Jersey factory, painting luminous numbers on the faces of clocks and watches. By licking the tip of the paintbrush, they made a fine point. They also ingested large amounts of radium, a carcinogen that ultimately killed them.