The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, a tongue-twisting but exciting play, will be performed throughout December by Carmel High’s own students and teachers. The show opened Wednesday, and will play Saturday, Sunday and again Dec. 14 and 15.
Director Michael Jacobs and his students fell in love with the play after only a few monologues.
“It was a breakthrough,” says Jacobs, who directed the performance back in 2002.
“It is a true work of art and so well-written,” says senior Carissa Redfield, a star of the production.
The play is set in the midst of a dysfunctional family consisting of one single mother and her two children. The audience follows them through their battles with each other and witnesses their struggles within themselves as they try to find their way.
All of the actors in the performance have been drawn from the CHS student body. Redfield will be playing the bipolar, depressed and mildly-insane mother, while sophomore Avery Yeatman and junior Alex Moreland will play her daughters. Senior Lana Richards portrays two characters, one of whom is a 90-year-old woman, the other a 16-year-old.
“They have become the characters,” Jacobs says in regards to how the actors were embracing the Broadway sensation, which premiered in 1964.
“I’m excited for people to see all the work that has been put into this show,” Redfield says.
Jacobs adds that he and his actors are excited about the play: “I hope that the audience is able to take something away from it.”
And take away something they shall. The Broadway show won a Pulitzer Prize in the drama category and has been something that the Carmel High drama department fell in love with.
Jacobs, an actor himself, is fond of this is play because of its unique dimensions.
“The characters are so incredibly interesting and complex,” Jacobs says. “They have every human foible and emotion at some point, and it gives the actors tremendous opportunity to create.”
Not only does Gamma Rays give the characters an opportunity to create, Jacobs expects audience members to feel a change within themselves and to come away from the performance with a new discovery or perspective, having been inspired by the infinite layers of the playwright.
“Hopefully they’ll be somewhat uplifted,” Jacobs says. “I want them to feel that even under even the darkest, or devastating, dire circumstances, that the human spirit can conquer. Not only survive, but thrive.”
“We have hope and we have fear, and we feel joy and we feel sadness, and that is what makes this play so fantastic,” Jacobs says in regards to the viewer’s perspective. “Even in the midst of radiation, radioactive feelings and emotions around us, we can still triumph.”
Jacobs dubs this play a Tour de Force. “This is giving an opportunity for the actors to shine in ways that would normally not be possible because every character is so rich and complex.”
The director adds, “Every one of the actors is embracing these characters in ways that you would not normally see in high school, and that is what is exciting.”