“This is a powerful, intimate play — and we want the audience to be part of the intimacy,” director Trudi Kerkstra said. “Seated on stage, audience members will essentially be in the Hunsdorfer family living room where they will see every gesture, flinch, facial expression and nuance up close and personal.”
The stage setting offers unique opportunities for the cast as well, Kerkstra said.
“Actors will play to each other rather than to a darkened auditorium,” she said. “This adds to the power of the piece, and it challenges actors to be their characters throughout the production because the audience is right there.”
Because “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” is the story of a struggling family, the six-day run will benefit local families through donations to The People Center. In addition, audience members who bring donations when they purchase tickets will receive $2 vouchers good toward any of the next three upcoming CPP productions.
Representatives of The People Center are asking that donations be non-food items. The Spring Lake center particularly needs personal and feminine hygiene items, cleaning products, toilet paper, paper towel, blankets, bedding, children’s clothing, and cold-weather clothing.
In another change, tickets are currently on sale at Hair Creations, 222 W. Savidge St. in Spring Lake. Patrons may purchase tickets by cash or check, and bring donations for The People Center on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Tickets will be available at the salon through Feb. 24.
The Central Park Players box office will open Feb. 25 for season ticket-holders and Feb. 27 for the general public. All tickets are general admission, with season ticket-holders and those with special needs seated first.
Written by Paul Zindel, “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It tells the story of bitter Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Tillie. The extroverted Ruth is in danger of becoming like her mother. Quiet Tillie immerses herself in school and science, and ultimately illustrates the strength and resiliency of the human spirit that is at the play’s heart. Tillie’s science project, which explores the effects of radiation on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, gives the play its title and its hope.
Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. March 2-3 and 8-10, and at 2 p.m. March 4 at Lakeshore Middle School, 900 Culver St. in Grand Haven.