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Re: “The effects of Kansas City Actors Theatre on Paul Zindel's Marigolds

Excellent review! I saw this play last night and it affected me deeply. Here are comments I sent to some friends which echo the insights expressed in this review:

The thing about this play is that it is horribly depressing yet fascinating. The single mother of two daughters considers herself a crazy failure (true!) and is very abusive to them, going so far as to forbid her daughter whose refuge is school & science from going to school on some days and deliberately killing their pet rabbit. There is a lot of yelling. Yet it it is so impressive (won a Pulitzer prize) simply because it is so true to this underside of regular life. While watching it I thought what am I doing listening to this crazy nonsense yet I woke up this morning very rejuvenated by the uncensored jolt of reality.

Plus the acting was so good and the actors LOOKED so much their parts, the mother slouching around sloppily with her half-colored hair scraggly in old house dresses and bathrobes. The science-minded daughter was plain and retreating and the sister a loud-mouthed shrew. What a bunch of characters. Yet the science daughter's belief in a better future through science blew through all the crap. (The name of the play has to do with a science experiment in which she is growing irradiated marigold seeds and studying the mutations - she wins first prize which sets up a big conflict for the mother's persona. The mother ends up not going to the competition but staying home and killing the rabbit as a way of punishing everyone for her failures..).

An amazing example of the ways the director downplays the family's disfunction and present it in the light of this family's "normal" is the lack of reaction, in the end, on the part of the daughters to the rabbit's death. As if the mother is simply a fact that is there and cannot be changed.

No wonder this play is just about sold out, as I found out when I looked into going to see it again and bringing another friend into its atomic pattern.

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Posted by Jeanne Bojarski on 08/29/2014 at 6:03 PM

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