Photo by Tanya Barber
Casi Wilkerson, Amy Love and Faith Russell.

Taproot Theatre's Brownie Points to spark laughter and dialogue

The girls' club pledge never promised camping would be easy...for the moms anyway.

During a storming night in a backwoods campout, a squall threatens to erupt inside the parental cabin where diverse backgrounds and differing walks of life collide, spurring hilarious but meaningful conversations about race, religion and parenting.

Making its West Coast premiere at Taproot Theatre on Friday, May 20, Janece Shaffer's Brownie Points explores the question of ‘what is more powerful: the shared experience of motherhood or the divisiveness of race?'.

Brownie Points premiered to sold‐out crowds at Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta last year and now the dialogue continues on the West Coast thanks to director Karen Lund who's bringing the award-winning dramedy to Seattle.

"I love Schafer's plays and think Brownie Points is hilarious," Lund said, who had been looking for a modern comedy with substance.

"Taproot is a theatre of hope," Lund said. "In all of our plays you're asked a tough question but always led to the hope that there is an answer. I don't think that there will ever be a time when people don't need hope."

Brownie Points is no exception as it sends the message of hope for open dialogue and a better future.

"This play is a perfect example. It's a hilarious comedy that questions race, religion, and education," said Lund.

Thrown together in an hilarious setting, a group of mothers from all sort of different socio-economic, religious and ethnic backgrounds learn that despite their differences, they have one common goal - to raise their little girls the best possible way they know how.

With powerful one-liners such as "For you to say you don't see color negates everything I am" and "You think we start neutral but we don't. We start at white," the play explores sensitive questions that Lund said, people don't talk about in Seattle.

"In Seattle we're lucky to live in an open and welcoming place and people think race isn't an issue here," she said. "The race issue is here. People just don't deal with it. If you think there are no race issues here, then you're asking the wrong people."

Having witnessed this play in Atlanta, Lund said it was fascinating to see how the play started conversations. She's excited to bring this piece to the West Coast and particularly Seattle, the fifth 'whitest' major city in the U.S., Lund said.

"You're going to be dealing with some tough questions but the best thing is that you're laughing the whole time," she said.

Taproot Theatre’s production features a cast of Karen Ann Daniels, Amy Love, Faith Russell, Nikki Visel and Casi Wilkerson. Lund said it's rare to have an entire cast of women in their thirties and forties.

"It raises the level of talent on the stage," said Lund.

For the coming weeks, the John Perkins Center at Seattle Pacific University will hold a discussion following the Thursday night showings of Brownie Points on the topic of racial reconciliation.

Brownie Points runs from May 20th until June 18th. For tickets and more information, please visit http://taproottheatre.org.

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