“The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds is a semi-autobiographical drama about hope blooming even in the midst of a toxic environment that does everything it can to kill it,” Sydney Fly, senior interdisciplinary studies major, said.
The play centers on a dysfunctional family in which Beatrice, the hostile mother played by Fly, belittles her daughters, Ruth and Tille. As Tille works on a science project focused on how radiation changes flowers, parallels are drawn between her family and the science experiment. While some flowers are killed off or mutated as a result of the radiation, others transform into something beautiful, a product far from the original.
Garyn McIntyre, senior French major, has worked alongside David Burke, director and professor of theater, to create the vision for the play from the performance and technical aspects. McIntyre believes that the driving force behind this play is not the plot itself but rather the complex nature of the characters and the complicated family dynamic that is portrayed.
“These acting roles are extremely difficult,” McIntyre said. “These girls have put forth an outstanding effort. There are many times that this show could become, if not done well, false and dishonest, and I think these actresses prevent that to the best of their abilities. As I’ve worked with this cast, I’ve been able to learn from them about my craft as an actor.”
Fly encourages students to come see the play because of the parallels between this work of fiction and the reality of family in our own lives.
“Having the opportunity to see all of the parts of a family normally hidden from any outside light is incredible,” Fly said. “Talk to any parent, and they will tell you that they have regrets. Talk to any son or daughter, and they’ll have things they wish were done differently. In working through this play, I have had so many moments where I’ve thought, ‘Wow. This happened to me. It was hard, I wish it hadn’t happened, and I can now process it and let go of any hope of the past changing. And I am not alone.’ Please, come and see and feel that you are not alone. And please, know that the Holy Trinity and the body of Christ fulfills every rightful longing you were born with to have a perfect brother, sister, mother and father.”
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds premieres Thursday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the W.D. Powell Theater. The play runs through Tuesday, October 11, each night at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of Sunday, which has a performance at 2:30 p.m.