Insightful comedy urges audience to listen

Posted: April 27th, 2012 | Arts & Entertainment | No Comments

“Brownie Points”
Through May 27
Lamb’s Players Theate
Tues – Thurs 7:30 p.m.
Fri 8 p.m.
Sat 4 & 8 p.m.
Sun 2 p.m.

Lamb’s Players latest looks at intentioned prejudice and racism

By Cuauhtémoc Kish | Downtown News

Lamb’s Players Theatre tackles the uncomfortable subject of racism with an insightful comedy by Janece Shaffer that will play through May 27.

The action takes place in an isolated cabin with a Brownie troop inside Forsyth County, and although you never see the youngsters, musical and other vocal snippets from the children are heard throughout this engaging one-act production.

The set-up is somewhat predictable but offers an opportunity to allow both sides to participate in a two-sided conversation about race and how much progress is left undone. The five-actor ensemble is composed of two African-Americans, a Jewish woman and two Caucasian women.

Allison, played by Karson St. John, is the troop leader. She is the quintessential micromanager who planned the outing. She gave up a law career to take care of her disabled son, which is a decision that has taken a heavy toll on her family. Nicole, played by Kaja Amado Dunn, is a relaxed wife of a former sports star, while Cynthia Gerber plays the part of Sue, a mom on the verge of a breakdown who cannot control her unruly, resentful daughter. Rounding out the group is Jamie, the kindly mediator and stay-at-home mom, and Deidre, an accomplished surgeon, played by Erika Beth Phillips and Monique Gaffney respectively.

Deborah Gilmour Smith stages the play with an able hand, and all of the actors follow with credible performances although the volume needs to be turned down a notch or two.

Tensions rise when Deidre and Nicole discover they have been assigned kitchen duty for the entire sleep over. From this vantage point, the question of intentioned prejudice makes its appearance, and the rest of the show has the entire group of women defending their differing positions on the subject.

A side bar in this play is all about good parenting, juxtaposed against racial and economic factors. The women come to terms with their inadequacies and their strengths during their forced captivity caused by a severe thunderstorm that knocked down trees, blocking their exit.

By title only, “Brownie Points” appears to promise giggles and toasted marshmallows, but what audiences get is an adult conversation about race, religion, divorce and working outside the home. The bottom line in this expansive discussion is for all of us to consider a point of view that is different from our own; in short: to listen.

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