“Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” That is the mission statement of the Girl Scouts of America, and it may apply to the girls...but what about to the moms? Brownie Points is the story of a girl scout troop on an overnight in a cabin in the woods. However, the audience never actually sees a single one of the girls, and the play becomes a drama about the five moms chaperoning the trip. It all starts when the two African-American mothers—the minority in a group of white women—are placed as cooks in the kitchen for the entire weekend. The play quickly becomes a high-pressured challenge on social issues, including religion, mothering and responsibilities, but above all, the presence of racism in a culture that may consider itself progressive.
Brownie Points seeks to challenge the presumptions of our everyday society, and as far as effectiveness, it more than succeeds. The issues are ones true to life, ones that, because of the uncomfortable topics they bring up, often get studiously ignored. The five mothers are exceptionally well-developed characters. Each has her own issues and prejudices, faults and endearing qualities, and the actors who play the women (Casi Wilkerson, Nikki Visel, Amy Love, Karen Ann Daniels, and Faith Russell) fulfill their roles perfectly. The story is written and directed with care and precision, weaving an intricate web of intense emotion and energy, depicting the intersecting but very different lives of five women who believe they are very different from one another but are more alike than any of them will ever know.
My advice: see this play. It challenges the issues that impact each and every person in our modern day society whether they acknowledge it or not. It is an unexpected find that comes across as lively and fresh amidst a theater culture that can be far too tentative in talking about race, prejudice, and the way we all ignore it.
Teen note: you are the life of the audience. During the performance I attended, the adult-dominated audience laughed at all the funny parts, sighed at all the sad parts, but when words like racist and nigger were thrown around...dead silence. Feel free to react—that is what this play is for. Challenge yourself. Challenge the issues. And after it’s over, go on out and challenge the world.
Through June 18