‘The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds’ at NCTC


The Newnan Community Theatre Company’s next production in their 2010 Season is the classic drama “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Paul Zindel. The show opens Aug. 12 and runs Thursday through Sunday for two weekends. This show is recommended for audiences ages 13 and up.

Beatrice (Jennifer Dorrell) is a slatternly, widowed housewife who takes her hatred of the world out on her two children, Ruth (Elizabeth Murphy) and Matilda or Tillie (Katie Ruttinger). She badgers them and often keeps them out of school to help with housework, which never gets properly done anyway. The extroverted Ruth is an epileptic and has little love or respect for her mother. The younger Tillie escapes her nightmarish daily life by making scientific experiments in school, studying the effects of cobalt 60 on marigolds. Only her laboratory work sustains her, and when she wins a science competition she begins to see a brighter future.

The play was originally written for television, and was later staged at Houston’s Alley Theatre and the Cleveland Play House before being presented Off Broadway. Jerry Talmer of the New York Post wrote, “I don’t know of a better play of its genre since The Glass Menagerie. It is stronger and funnier and tougher than I can report.” In 1971 the play became only the second Off-Broadway production to receive the Pulitzer Prize.

“The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” is widely performed across the country, and is often required reading in many high school English and Literature classes. Its realistic portrayal of the struggles of young adults still resonates with audiences, even though it was written more than thirty-six years ago.

The cast is:
• Merry Arace (Nanny) is a long time season ticket holder at NCTC and a member of the improvisation troupe “NITWITS.” She’s very excited about her first role in a play at NCTC.

• Allie Crain (Janice Vickery) is 15 and a ninth-grader at Newnan High School. Her previous acting roles include “Charlottes Web,” “How to Eat Like a Child,” “The Little Princess,” and “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.”

• Jennifer Dorrell (Beatrice) is a familiar face at NCTC having directed and performed in numerous productions. She is thrilled at the opportunity and is enjoying the challenge of bringing this character to life.

• Elizabeth Murphy, (Ruth) is a 22-year old graduate of Northgate High School, where she was house manager for their production of Gamma Rays several years ago, and has always wanted to play the part of Ruth.

• Katie Ruttinger, (Tillie) is 17 and about to start her senior year at Newnan High School. She was last seen onstage at NCTC in “The Jungle Book.” She really wanted the role of Tillie, and says it’s very emotionally challenging.

Co-directing this production are long-time NCTC theatre veterans Susan Patterson and Rebecca Clark.

Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $8 for children 12 and under. For more information and to make reservations, please visit our website at www.newnantheatre.org or call 770.678.6282.