The Girl Scouts Play is an expressionist piece of theatre that follows the life of a woman named Jessie from early adulthood into middle age. As a former girl scout, ingrained in her is a life philosophy that doing said deed, results in said badge. However, as she progresses into her adult life she’s forced to recalibrate her understanding of what “badge worthy” accomplishments constitute.
The play follows Jessie from college, career, marriage, mothering, caring for a sick parent, and ultimately to being alone with herself. The play tracks as Jessie works to make the milestones constructed for her by an objective society. At first, it’s easy – following a prescribed path laid out by her family, then dictated by her peers, her lover etc. However, as time progresses, circumstances out of her control start to act on her and Jessie struggles to sustain her badge accumulating lifestyle. As the play ensues Jessie learns sometimes the things that are hardest; moments where true character is built – not crying when you lose your job, caring for a sick parent, choosing divorce when a marriage isn’t working, etc. are in fact the things that are not “badge worthy” forcing her to recalibrate the understanding of her world view.
Jessie is ushered through the play by The Girl Scouts, ghosts of a simpler time who give voice to moments where perceived expectations bump up against the harsh reality of life. The main conflict in this play is between Jessie and her society; and the girl scout chorus serves to deliver the internalized messaging of that society.
The structure of this play is in conversation with Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal. Machinal is effective in showing the span of the main characters life over many years and how society interacts with and imbeds itself in her. I’m using that structure and elements of a similar style as a container to explore this material.