May 2002

Science Spins Positive 

Most of the "science" plays in our series "Arts and Sciences" portray science as dangerous and destructive.  May's play sends science a love letter. "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" (1970), by Paul Zindel, shows how a school science project affects a bitter, disturbed single mom & her two teenage daughters: Ruth, epileptic, cynic, plagued by nightmares & struggling with puberty; & Tillie, keeper of rabbits, dreamer of atoms, fervent believer in life, hope, & the power of science. Critics have called "Marigolds" "funny" (Wall Street Journal) & "moving" (Saturday Review), "intelligent" (Time) & "beautiful" (New York Times), "masterful, pacesetting drama" (Variety). It won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Reviewing the Washington area's most recent professional "Marigolds," the Washington Post predicted it would "haunt you long after you've left the theater." Both the Post & the City Paper praised director Don Martin, calling his work "sure and steady" (Washington Post) & "gracefully matter-of-fact" (City Paper). Don Martin will lead our discussion. Martin has directed more than 40 plays, including "Marigolds" & "The Crucible" at The American Century Theater, & "The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia" & "Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander," both at Signature.

We will meet Monday, May 13 at Cafe Midi Cuisine, 1635 Connecticut Ave., NW (202-234-3090). Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.; our discussion takes place 7:30-9:30. At exactly 6:30 you can find parking on 18th St. near R St., NW, & on R St. either side of Connecticut Ave.  Make reservations any time, day or night: call 202-898- 4825 or e-mail [email protected]. Gather "Marigolds" at Backstage Books, 545 8th St., SE, &--for a special discount--at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, & Olsson's Books & Records, 1307 19th St., NW & 7647 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda. 

Screening "Marigolds"

"The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" reached the silver screen in 1972. Paul Newman directed, Joanne Woodward starred, & their daughter Eleanor Newman (under the name Nell Potts) played Tillie. At 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18, we'll watch the video. The $2 admission includes refreshments. The screening takes place at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd. (US-50), corner George Mason Dr., Arlington. For reservations & directions, call 703-370-1838 or e-mail [email protected].

Terror on the Internet

On Tuesday, June 18, we return to science as menace with what the Washington Post called a "cautionary fable for our times": "Y2K" (or "BecauseHeCan") (1999), by Arthur Kopit. In "Y2K," a computer hacker invades, transforms, & destroys a couple's private & professional lives--all from his computer keyboard. A "scary, relevant tale written with brilliant precision and steely mystery" (Christian Science Monitor), "Y2K" is "unnerving" (New Yorker), "artful" (New York Times), "erotically charged" (Village Voice) & "laced with mordant wit" (Variety).  Our meeting will feature Dr. Dorothy Denning, Patricia and Patrick Callahan Family Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. Denning is author of "Information Warfare and Security" (1999) & co-editor of "Internet Besieged: Countering Cyberspace Scofflaws" (1998).

Greatest Hits Update

Our 2002 Greatest Hits Festival continues 8 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St., SW, with Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (1947), "one of the great plays of the 20th century" (New York Times). A tender sequel to "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1956), "Moon" carries the story of O'Neill's brother Jamie to its tragic conclusion. Tickets are $32; May 1 is the deadline for payment & refunds. At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2, our Festival goes to Baltimore, with "Side Man" (1998), Warren Leight's "eloquent" (Chicago Tribune), "heartbreaking" (New York Times), Tony award-winning elegy for his parents' failed marriage & the lost world of big-band jazz. Tickets are $16. The performance takes place at Everyman Theatre, 1727 N. Charles St. Back in DC, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, we'll attend a live taping of "The Heidi Chronicles" (1988). Wendy Wasserstein's "gloriously well-written" (Newsday), Pulitzer prize-winning play portrays the baby-boom generation from the radical '60s through the mercenary '80s. Tickets are $24. The performance takes place at Voice of America, 330 Independence Ave., SW. For both "Side Man" & "Heidi," our deadline is May 13 & we can't issue refunds. All Festival tickets include a post-show discussion; Wendy Wasserstein herself will lead the "Heidi" discussion.  Mail your check today to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300 & [email protected]).

Meeting Calendar

Mon., May 13: "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds," Cafe Midi
Tues., June 18: "Y2K" ("BecauseHeCan"), Pan Asian Noodles
Wed., July 24: "Rain. Some Fish. No Elephants.," Delray Viet Garden

all Footlights meetings run from 7:30-9:30 p.m., with dinner from 6:30-7:30.

Greatest Hits Festival

Thurs., May 23: "A Moon for the Misbegotten," Arena Stage
Sun., June 2: "Side Man," Everyman Theatre
Wed., June 5: "The Heidi Chronicles," Voice of America
Sun., June 23: "Our Town," Round House Theatre

More Information

For more information about Footlights, check our website, You can subscribe to our list & receive our monthly e-letter for free by sending any message--even blank--to [email protected].