‘Gamma Rays’ on Flagler stage

Paul Zindel’s classic drama to be presented by Theatre Department

By Sarah Locke | gargoyle@flagler.edu
Photo by Mary Elizabeth Fair

PHOTO CAPTION: Flagler Theatre Arts students rehearse for their upcoming performances of “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” beginning Nov. 13 on the Rahner-Gibbs Second Stage.

Flagler College’s Theatre Arts Department will present “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” in November.

The play, written by Paul Zindel and directed for Flagler College by Thomas P. Rahner, is a lyrical drama that highlights the day-to-day life of a dysfunctional family.

Beatrice, a single mother, and her two daughters, Ruth and Tillie, face major struggles in getting along with one another while trying to find their different niches in life.

Beatrice is full of jealousy and resentment due to her own lack of success.

She verbally and physically abuses Ruth and Tillie, and rejects any attempt that her daughters make to aim for their own goals.

By conquering heartache and struggle each character is forced to individually grow and develop.

That is what Leah Wiseman, a freshman who plays Tillie’s character, says she likes most about this play.

“I like that it shows that there is always hope for the future and that no matter the situation, you can rise out of it,” she said.

Wiseman said she’s excited to perform her first play with the college and that she’s looking forward to playing her particular character.

“I’ve never played a role like Tillie’s before because she’s so quiet and such an introvert,” she said.
“I tend to play the more outgoing characters, so this is really exciting for me.”

Paige Harbison, also a Flagler freshman, plays Tillie’s sister Ruth, a character who is full of confidence, and rather than let the day-to-day struggles cut her down, she uses them to build her up.

Harbison enjoys playing Ruth because the character sees a lighter side of every negative situation – even when that situation is particularly difficult.

“In one scene, I actually have to fake an epileptic seizure, like a convulsion on stage,” Harbison said.
“It’s quite interesting.”

She also says she enjoys acting because it allows her the possibility to escape reality.

“I get to pretend and become a different person for a while,” she said. “It’s sort of a release and it’s also a chance for me to find out more about myself.”

But it can also, depending on the situation and the character, be a lot of hard work.

“Sometimes I will look to my past to either control or work up necessary emotions for the character,” she said.

Wiseman and Harbison both agree that their first time experiences with Flagler’s Theatre Arts Department have been a success.

“We all get along really well,” Wiseman said.

Harbison agrees, although she said it has taken a little bit of time for the cast to really get to know one another, especially for the newcomers.

“As freshmen, we were just kind of thrown into it,” Harbison said. “We didn’t have the time to really get to know each other.

“But now that we have been working together for a while, I think we gel as a cast very well. And Tom Rahner is awesome. If we ask a question or for his advice, he will definitely give us an honest answer.”

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