Women on the Verge of… Figuring It Out! is an anthology that includes a couple of plays: Nicolle Nattrass’ Brownie Points and Maureen Brady Johnson’s Harvesting the Marigold Seeds. It is the brainchild of Red Hen Productions.
Nicolle Nattrass is a playwright, actress, theater instructor, and creativity coach. She has performed all over Canada in radio, film, theater, and commercials. Her work Brownie Points centers on Trixie Veronica, the oldest living Brownie in the world. The play shows her sharing her views about getting involved in one of the world’s most powerful organized associations.
At about thirty years old, Trixie Veronica has had a lot of experiences. She tells how there is more to just performing good acts and earning badges. The audience is fortunate enough to hear her stories on selling cookies and trying to lose her virginity as she explores her present status in the Brownie organization.
Nicolle Nattrass’ play is not to be confused with Brownie Points by Janece Shaffer, which centers on five women who live in the Midwest. The story behind the characters of the play comes into focus as they gather to chaperone the junior Girl Scout camping trip of their daughters in the woods of Georgia. The play opens with the five women passing out yellow handkerchiefs with their names embroidered on each of them.
Allison is a Type A former lawyer and mother of a disabled girl. She does her best to keep things organized yet she is still hopelessly and helplessly domineering. Nicole is an easygoing NBA player’s wife and stay-at-home mother. Sue is a divorcee who struggles to get by yet embraces life with open heartedness. Jamie is a high-strung and funny woman who deeply identifies herself as Jewish yet delicately treads around the sensitivities of the other women.
After a while, the fifth woman appears. She’s a strong-willed, imposing, and pompous surgeon named Deidre. She was a few hours late and her tardiness did not sit well with Allison, who was also the leader of the troop. Allison had the entire weekend planned, with each one of the activities having a 15-minute increment. Deidre went to the cabin and immediately transformed the fuzzy and warm atmosphere into an uncomfortable environment. She started a war of words revolving sensitive issues, such as regret, race, and religion.
Soon, the women started to open up to one another regarding their racial baggage, overt prejudice, and heart-felt insecurities. They talked about how they struggled to raise their daughters in the most ideal way they know. As they begin to deal with issues they have never dealt with before, it becomes apparent that they are indeed capable of growing, empathizing, reacting, and commiserating in ways they have never thought were possible.
The other play, Harvesting the Marigold Seeds, was written by Maureen Brady Johnson, who had been teaching, directing, and writing for over three decades. It centers on four women as they discussed their problems in a gym while working out. It is about traditions that are passed down from mothers to their daughters.
The main characters include Mary, a 48-year-old teacher who remained single and lived at home all her life, tending to her mother who have just been accepted to an assisted living facility; Camille, a married woman in her late 50’s who had mild opinions about things; Annie, a 28-year-old dance teacher at a local college; and Grace, a woman in her late 60’s to 70’s who owns a gallery.
In her play, Johnson wants her audience to connect with the characters, especially Mary. Mary was depicted to be hesitant of planting other flowers due to her domineering mother’s obsession with marigolds. As you watch the play, you will learn about the woman who is on the verge of something, such as being committed.