Document Type


Date of Award

Winter 2003

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Production

First Advisor

Brenda J. Hubbard

Second Advisor

Scott R. Robinson

Third Advisor

Derek Lane


The play The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel won the Village Voice Obie Award and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play in 1970, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1971 according to the reference guide, Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series. This Pulitzer Prize in Drama was the second to be awarded to an Off Broadway production. In 1970, a New York Times article by Peter Kihss noted the New York Drama Critics considered playwright Paul Zindel the Most Promising Playwright. In addition, is was noted by the website, Educational Paperback Associaiton, that the American Library Association named the play the Best Young Adult Book of 1971. The play can be found in school libraries and is included on many high school reading lists. That's where I discovered this play and upon reading it, knew it should my Master's production selection. The play is deceptively simple, upon first reading, with a cast of five women, one interior set for two acts, and a theme as old as theatre itself: survival and hope. Yet, as with all good writing, the play has more levels to it than what first meets the eye.