The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
All woman cast will put on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
When: Friday, May 24, 2013, 8 p.m.
Where: Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery Street, Ojai, CA
Cost: $15 - $18
Age limit: All ages
An all-woman cast will be examining “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” on the Ojai Art Center Theater stage from May 17 through June 16.
While the title of the play is also the name of a science project by one of two daughters of a single mother, it’s really a metaphor illustrating how beauty and hope can emerge from 'barren soil’.
Written by Paul Zindel, it has earned numerous awards including the 1971 Pulitzer Prize, the Obie Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award as Best American Play of the season.
It gained more recognition when adapted as a movie in 1972, directed by Paul Newman and starring his wife, Joanne Woodward, who won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. It also featured their daughter, Nell Potts (Elinor “Nell” Newman) and Roberta Wallach, daughter of Eli Wallach. Fast fact: Nell was the one who founded Newman’s Own Organics.
"The play itself is one of the lucky blooms; it survives, and is beautiful," wrote a New York Times critic when it performed Off-Broadway. Director Steve Grumette said while it deals with emotional issues, there is a lot of “dark humor” to it.
The play has often been compared to “The Glass Menagerie” because it is a story of a dysfunctional family, led by an embittered widow who often takes out lack of success on her two daughters. One of them immerses herself in science -- mentored by an unseen teacher named Mr. Goodman -- while the other daughter copes by sometimes taking her mother’s side against her sister.
A play that deals with such strong emotions within a family structure begs for a stellar cast to pull it off. Grumette believes he has the seeds that will make this drama unfold under the hot and bright stage lights.
Veteran actress Tracey Williams Sutton takes on the mother’s role, which she described as “challenging.” Julia Wilson plays Tillie, the science-inspired daughter, and Maka Fouchi is Ruth, the daughter who has less direction and has already had a nervous breakdown.
Ashley Holman plays Janice, Tilly’s rival at the science fair, and Nancy Solomons is Nanny, an elderly border who bears her burden in silence but “acts up a storm, you’ll see,” said Grumette.
Produced by Frank James Malle, the offstage talent includes set design shared by Grumette and Steve Pronovost, and costume designs by Sheryl-Jo Bedal and Williams-Sutton.
“Effect of Gamma Rays …” plays from May 17 through June 16 at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays at Ojai ACT, 113 S. Montgomery St. Tickets are $18 general and $15 students, seniors and Art Center members. For reservations, call 640-8797 or go online to www.OjaiACT.org.
Event posted May 22, 2013
Last updated May 22, 2013