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ESP play opens Nov. 17

Released: 11/04/2005

LSU Alexandria’s Empty Space Players will present “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Paul Zindel, in a six-performance run from Nov. 17 to 21.

The cast includes Piper Wilson as Beatrice, Terris Gunter as Tillie, Jeannie Leeder as Ruth, Trisha Brown as Nanny, and Ann McDowell and Sarah Swart alternating in the role of Janice Vickery. Jim Stacy is the director and David Wlodarski the designer/technical director.

Stacy said the show was originally scheduled to open on Nov. 11, but a series of three separate automobile accidents took their toll on cast members, resulting in cast replacements, with the latest stepping into the role of Ruth for the first time this week. The new schedule has the show running at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17, 18, 19 and 21, at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 20.

“This show works so well on stage,” according to Stacy. “It does what modern realistic drama does best: It gives us very believable characters in a family setting, dealing with problems that escalate into dramatic climaxes, as painful truths emerge.” Stacy adds, “Also like the best of modern American drama, it has many moments of comedy. In our cast we are blessed with a Beatrice who knows how to play the comic moments as well as going for the jugular in the more serious moments. And our Tillie will break your heart.”

The play deals with a family headed by an embittered mother who comes to realize that life has passed her by. She joins with one daughter, Ruth, a hyperactive teen with attitude, in making life difficult for her sensitive daughter, Tillie, who loves science. The family finds hope when Tillie’s project, raising “atomic marigolds,” is a winner in the science fair, but a final hidden truth emerges to thwart their optimism. Only Tillie remains focused on the stars and the future.

The production will be staged in Room 205 of the Fitness Center (formerly P.E. Building) on the LSUA campus. Reservations may be made by calling 473-6467 or 473-6581. Ticket prices are $9 for the general public, $6 for LSUA faculty/staff, $6 for seniors, $6 for students from other schools, and $4 for LSUA students.