Mad Horse Theatre Company is proud to present the American classic with the tongue twisting title, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, by Paul Zindel. The play opens March 15, and runs Thursday to Sunday through April 1, at Lucid Stage in Portland.
Zindel’s masterpiece, which won an Obie Award, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Drama, tells the story of single mother Beatrice Hunsdorfer, and her teenage daughters, Ruth and Matilda. Abandoned by her husband and saddled with two children, Beatrice hates the world. She thinks she just needs the right opportunity, and everything will get better. Older sister Ruth knows the reputation her mother has around town, but she seems sadly fated to repeat her mother’s mistakes in her own life. Shy Matilda, or Tillie, is the joke of her school and her family, until a teacher opens her eyes to the wonders of science. When Tilllie’s project on the effect of gamma rays on man-in-the-moon marigold seeds is chosen for the school science fair, the dysfunctional family dynamic comes to a head.
Zindel’s semi-autobiographical work is loosely based on his own experience growing up in a single-parent household with a mother who constantly threatened suicide. His portrayal of the painful side of family life, delivered with just the right amount of humor, still resonates with audiences today, especially teenagers. Mad Horse Theatre Company member Chris Horton, who is directing the play, calls it timeless. “We all have mothers, and we carry the impact of our early years throughout our lives. Relationships with mothers are complex, and sometimes challenging. The play examines a particularly difficult relationship, and how an individual can prevail in the face of dreadful circumstances,” he says. “It is a play about love and forgiveness.”
The cast includes Mad Horse Theatre Company Artistic Director Christine Louise Marshall, North Yarmouth Academy senior Ruth Gray, Bonny Eagle High School sophomore Veronica Druchniak, Waynflete sophomore Nora Daly, and Maine theater community stalwart Muriel Kenderdine.
Pay What you Can Tickets are available exclusively through the Box Office. For more information, please call (207) 899-3993