THE STORY: Frowzy, acid-tongued, Beatrice Hunsdorfer, is supporting herself and her two daughters by taking in a decrepit old boarder. One daughter, Tillie undertakes a gamma ray experiment with marigolds that wins a prize at her high school—and also brings on the shattering climax of the play. Proud and yet jealous, Beatrice can only maim when she needs to love. And yet, as Tillie's experiment proves, something beautiful and full of promise can emerge from even the most barren, afflicted soil. This is the timeless lesson of the play and the root of its moving power and truth.