Award-winning theater company Back Alley Productions will bring Paul Zindel’s coming-of-age production “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” to life. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. from Sept. 13-22.

The historic Mars Theatre is located at 117 N. Chattanooga Ave. in LaFayette. Tickets can be purchased online at www.BAPshows.com or 30 minutes before showtime at the box office. Seating is first come first serve.

“The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” details the story of the Hunsdorfers, a dysfunctional family living in poverty in a converted grocery store during the 1960s. To make ends meet, the mother, Beatrice, houses and cares for an elderly woman they call Nanny. When Beatrice isn’t berating Nanny or abusive her daughters, she’s dwelling endlessly on how miserable her life has been.

The eldest daughter Ruth is an epileptic with an obsessive need to be liked by everyone, while the youngest daughter Tillie escapes their bleak situation through her love of science. But when Tillie faces off against the smug and self-important Janice Vickery at the school science fair, the tenuous bonds holding the family together start to fray, driven primarily by Beatrice constant thwarting of Tillie’s success.

“Many people have asked me why I chose such a dark play for my directorial debut at Back Alley,” Krystale Dawson, director, explained. “And the truth is I think we can all connect to each of the characters on some level. During different periods of my life, I’ve felt like each of them: filled with regrets and recriminations like Beatrice, obsessed with how others see me like Ruth, and possessed with a hopeful and determined nature like Tillie.”

Tillie’s unwavering optimism despite her mother’s abusive and control is the heart of the play, Dawson notes.

“We live in a world where horrible things happen constantly,” she said. “All you have to do is turn on the TV to see some of the pain and anguish in our world. So stories like ‘Marigolds,’ despite its heavy themes about family, can help remind us all that, despite seemingly insurmountable circumstances, where there’s life, there’s hope, as the old saying goes.”

The production stars Emily Clift, Cynthia Hubler, Jazzmine McManamy, Ali Gilbreath and Patricia Canada. Runtime for the show is approximately two hours.

“I would like to thank everyone at Back Alley Productions for their support and help. I’m also eternally grateful to my cast, who threw themselves into this weighty story without hesitation, and my crew, who helped me hone my vision for ‘Marigolds.’ Without them, I would be nowhere at all.”

For more information, visit www.bapshows.com for more information or call 706-621-2870.

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