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The Spotlight Players Present “The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds”


“If you’re just a little bit different in this world they try to kill you off.”

Winter Storm Jonas may have been powerful enough to shut down the university for almost a week, but it did not stand a chance at dulling the Spotlight Players’ sparkle. This past weekend, on Jan. 29, 30 and 31, an all-female cast of Loyola students starred in a stellar production of Paul Zindel’s “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.” Directed by senior Katie Raymond, this play tackled the ideals of passion, resentment, and most importantly, hope.

This family drama tells the tale of sisters Tillie (sophomore Clara Love) and Ruth (sophomore Lauren Mazzio), and their tragic home life under the roof of a toxic and instable mother, Beatrice (sophomore Emma Ditzel). Since Beatrice is so unsupportive and fails to give them the love they deserve, her daughters struggle to conquer their inner demons and thrive as unique individuals.

Set in a single room, the play touches upon many different aspects of the characters’ lives that are shaped by the environment they grow up in. Young Tillie, full of light and passion, possesses an immense love for science, but is kept from attending school by her mother because Beatrice fears that Tillie will be laughed at for her interests. Ruth becomes a slave to her anxiety and trauma, as she falls victim to crippling convulsions brought upon by her disorder, which Beatrice gives little notice to. This play bravely begs the question: Do you really have a choice of who you become based on what family you are born into, or are you stuck?

The production of this play holds testament to the saying, “Nothing good ever comes easy.” After an entire summer of intensive research, auditions held in November, and two months of hard work and rehearsal, the cast and crew were faced with a roadblock: Winter Storm Jonas. Raymond admitted that she was nervous to tell her actors about the postponement of the show. “They were in a very good spot and had a lot of energy, and they were ready to open that Friday. I was so afraid that they were going to lose that energy,” Raymond shared.

But these were all empty worries, and each actress put on an amazing show all three nights. Ditzel expertly captured the true essence of a middle-aged woman weighed down with regret and scorn from her past. Likewise, Love convincingly played the role of a young girl who wants nothing more than to delve deeper into her passions.

When asked about what the audience can take away from this story, Raymond stated, “I think audience members can look at Tillie and long to be inspired. I think we lose that along the way.”

Feature Image: Jim the Photographer Photo, Courtesy of Flickr URL

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The Spotlight Players Present “The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds”