The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the Moon Marigolds at Sierra Madre Playhouse

On Monday, February 26, 2018

Published : Wednesday, January 17, 2018 | 12:20 AM

Sierra Madre Playhouse continues its Off The Page series of free staged readings with Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. The Playhouse’s Artistic Director Christian Lebano will direct.

Frowzy, acid-tongued, supporting herself and her two daughters by taking in a decrepit old boarder, Beatrice Hunsdorfer wreaks a petty vengeance on everybody about her. One daughter, Ruth, is a pretty but highly strung girl subject to convulsions; while the younger daughter, Matilda, plain and almost pathologically shy, has an intuitive gift for science. Encouraged by her teacher, Tillie undertakes a gamma ray experiment with marigolds that wins a prize at her high school-and also brings on the shattering climax of the play. Proud and yet jealous, too filled with her own hurts to accept her daughter’s success, Beatrice can only maim when she needs to love and deride when she wants to praise. Tortured, acerbic, slatternly, she is as much a victim of her own nature as of the cruel lot which has been hers. And yet, as Tillie’s experiment proves, something beautiful and full of promise can emerge from even the most barren, afflicted soil. This is the timeless lesson of the play and the root of its moving power and truth.

Paul Zindel (1936-2003) is the playwright. His other Broadway plays include And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, Ladies at the Alamo and The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild. His screenplays include Runaway Train, Mame, Up the Sanbdox and Maria’s Lovers. He also wrote 53 books.

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. Staged reading of the play. Written by Paul Zindel. Directed by Christian Lebano. Presented by Sierra Madre Playhouse.

Monday, February 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. At Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Ample free parking behind the venue. Reservations are not necessary. Admission is free. Donations are accepted. For more information, visit







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