Sabrina Kahwaty, '17

The Niagara University theatre department presented its student-produced show, The Effect of Gamma Rays on The Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds, Feb. 24-26. The Niagara University Players show was also student-directed, a position fulfilled this year by senior Sabrina Kahwaty.

“The process was incredible,” Kahwaty explained. “Getting to work with an all-student cast and production team was so rewarding because everyone’s level of investment was sky high. There was an overwhelming sense of collaboration and camaraderie that I think definitely translated into the work that was done onstage. Everyone was very open to each other’s ideas, wanted to help each other learn and grow, and was committed to creating something really special. I looked forward to our rehearsals every day, and experienced such levels of intrigue, joy and fun throughout the entire process. It was challenging in the best of ways, and I am so grateful for it.”

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds is Paul Zindel’s thought-provoking and heartbreaking play about a dysfunctional family, and a young girl striving to hold on to hope and her love of science in the midst of chaos.

“This play was groundbreaking for its time,” Kahwaty added. “Paul Zindel really went ‘behind the scenes’ of what was socially acceptable at the time to tell a story that wasn’t often being told. It’s a largely autobiographical story, which makes it even more poignant. I think a message everyone can take away from this play is that when life gets hard, and when you are struggling, our dreams and passions are what will sustain us. Never underestimate the power of a dream.”

Kahwaty said that she fell in love with directing when she had an opportunity to do so last year during Niagara University’s Short Play Festival, its annual smorgasbord of 10-minute, student-directed plays.

“Having the opportunity to delve even further into it was amazing,” she said. “Directing uses a whole different part of my brain and personality, while still allowing me to pull from all of my performance training. I have never felt such pride for anyone as I felt for my cast on opening night. It was an amazing feeling, and I loved watching them grow throughout the process. I would love to direct more in the future.”

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