These Shining Lives & A Number Audition Info

Auditions for our spring/winter plays take place on TUESDAY 12/10 in the Auditorium. Please use the break to look over info and sides. Email Mr. Ares (, director of These Shining Lives, or Mr. Beckingham (, director of A Number, with any questions.

These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich

Audition Information:

The casting will consist of the four primary women (Catherine, Charlotte, Francis, and Pearl), plus two men (Tom, Mr. Reed). The ensemble of five other actors will perform the remaining 12 characters.

For auditioning purposes, please choose a gender-appropriate monologue to read. Memorization is not necessary, but be thoroughly familiar with it, so your eyes aren’t glued to the paper.  PLEASE NOTE: there are only female monologues in this packet for Catherine and Charlotte – so even if you are considering one of the other roles, please read one of these two monologues.  Same with the male roles: there are only two monologues in this packet, so choose one or the other, even if you are considering one of the other male roles.

Synopsis (courtesy of

These Shining Lives revolves around the real-life circumstances of women in the 1920s who worked in a watch factory painting watch faces with glowing radium-rich paint. While the characters and company in These Shining Lives are fictitious, the story of the Radium Girls and the toxic and deadly levels of radium poisoning of over 4,000 factory workers is true. The real-life Radium Girls took their company to court and achieved a long-lasting victory over corporations with poor workplace conditions and worker’s compensation that is still in effect today.

The Plot

The women in These Shining Lives are delighted to find high-paying work in the early part of the century. They earn 8¢ for each watch face they paint and if they are fast enough and neat enough, they can earn over $8 a day. That kind of money could change the entire circumstances of a woman and her family in the 1920s.

Catherine, also called Katie, is leaving home for her first day of work. She has twins and a loving and supportive husband. They are barely making ends meet and she sees the opportunity to work and bring home money as a huge boon to her family.

At the factory, she meets her tablemates, Frances, Charlotte, and Pearl and learns how to paint the watches: Take the brush and twirl it between your lips to make a sharp point, dip it in the paint, and paint the numbers. “It’s a lip, dip, and paint routine,” Frances instructs her. When Catherine comments on how the paint glows and tastes, she is told that radium is medicinal and cures all kinds of maladies.

She quickly becomes adept at the work and loves her new identity as a working woman. Six years later, however, she and every girl working on the watches have health problems. Many are fired for needing too many sick days. Some die. Catherine is afflicted with severe pains in her legs, arms, and jaw.

Eventually, Catherine finds a doctor willing to tell her the truth. She and all the others have toxic levels of radium poisoning. Their condition is fatal. Instead of fading into the background, Catherine and her friends decide to risk their names, images, and reputations and take the watch company to court.


CATHERINE DONOHUE (F) 19-29 – A young wife and mother of two. She works at the Radium Dial Company. While she is quiet, sensitive and reflective at times, she is by no means weak. She is full of life and passion for her work, her friends, and her husband.

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, but is somewhat unsettled when his wife starts making more money than he does.

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 Company 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. Will be combined with another role.

RADIO ANNOUNCER (M) – 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. Combined with Leonard Grossman.

DAUGHTER (F) 5 – Catherine’s young daughter. She is not childish, only innocent. She establishes the disconnect that has developed in Catherine’s life. Will be combined with another role.

SON (M) 5 – Catherine’s son. He is not childish, only innocent. Only appearing once with his sister, he establishes the disconnect that has developed in Catherine’s life. Will be combined with another role.

DR. DALITSCH (M) 30-50 – An incredibly honest doctor. The girls go to him and receive their separate, gruesome diagnoses. He reappears in the trial scene to confirm their conditions before the jury. Will be combined with another role.

JUDGE (M/F) – Appears in the courtroom scene of Catherine’s trial versus the Radium Dial Company. Will be combined with another role.

REPORTERS 1 & 2 (M/F) – Speaks outside of the courthouse during Catherine’s lawsuit. They provide the opinion of the public. Will be combined with other roles.

Audition sides (Please choose only ONE to read)

A Number by Caryl Churchill

Audition Information

The casting consists of two male characters. ACTOR 1 will portray the father, and ACTOR 2 will portray the three sons. Auditions are not exclusive to male-identifying students, but please understand that the playwright’s intention is that the characters be male.

For auditioning purposes, please choose either the ACTOR 1 monologue, or the ACTOR 2 set of three monologues to read. It is important that the ACTOR 2 monologues reflect different personalities. Due to time, if you choose the ACTOR 2 sides, you will likely be stopped midway through each monologue.

PLEASE NOTE: Caryl Churchill’s dialogue is written in a “stream of consciousness” and naturalistic manner. Monologues do not necessarily follow correct written grammar, and dialogue is consistently overlapping. The actor(s) have freedom of interpretation and choice.

Synopsis (courtesy of

Caryl Churchill’s A Number is a play that explores the issue of human cloning through the relationships between a father and his three sons. A tight two-hander taking place in a not-too-far off future, Churchill’s play is a philosophical investigation into free will and the question of nature versus nurture.


SALTER: a man in his early sixties, he was married and had one son. His wife committed suicide by throwing herself under a train when their son was only two. He would raise their son alone, but due to his drinking and the son’s issues, he would neglect him and eventually send him away. He would then clone his son (Bernard 2) in an attempt to try again to be a better father. A pathological liar, he attempts to hide the truth of what he’s done from his sons.

BERNARD (B2): Salter’s son, thirty-five, intended clone of his first son, made to replace his original son, Bernard 1. He is very mild-mannered and emotional.

BERNARD (B1): Salter’s son, forty. First and original son of Salter. He was a difficult and disturbed child, who Salter sent away when he was 4. He would grow to have an explosive temper and hate Salter for what he did to him.

MICHAEL BLACK: Salter’s son, thirty-five. An unauthorized clone of Salter’s first son. He is married with three children, the oldest aged twelve, and is a mathematics teacher.

Audition sides (Please choose only ONE to read)