The play begins with an introduction from Kristine's mother (a delightful Peggy O'Connell), who serves as a narrator and sounding board for Kristine (an extremely likeable Summer Hagen, portraying a character who's complex and real) throughout the play. She tells us that Kristine was always curious and loved the church, and never wanted anything other than to work in the ministry. The play mostly takes place during Kristine's first semester at an unnamed Ivy league seminary. She and her fellow female students, including Southern belle Cathy (Hannah Benedict) and sensible Unitarian Debi (Meagan Kedrowski) face daily harassment from their male classmates and belittlement from their professors. Kristine is excited to start her field internship with the well-known pastor McGovern (Sean Dooley, whose charm soon turns to creepy). At first he seems quite supportive and helpful, until it eventually becomes obvious that the attention is inappropriate from a married mentor and pastor. But Kristine and her friends "hang on for the blessing;" she endures what she shouldn't have to endure, completes her education, and begins the career she always dreamed of, paving the way for the women behind her.
|the God Girls (Meagen Kedrowski,|
Hannah Benedict, and Summer
Hagen, photo by Scott Pakudaitis)
But the play isn't all serious, there are some light-hearted moments and the always popular Minnesota and Unitarian jokes (a la Garrison Keillor). And the '70s setting means fun costumes - bell bottoms and flowered dresses mixed with conservative minister attire (by Kelsey Glasener), and a groovy soundtrack, complete with dancing scene changes, contrasting with Rick Polenek's stately church-like set.
I was lucky enough to attend the show on a day when there was a post-show discussion with the playwright and a few experts. She's so smart, thoughtful, and articulate that it gives me hope for the world, that women like Kristine Holmgren continue to lead the way towards a more egalitarian future. Bring your daughters (and sons) to the History Theatre to see God Girl, the all too true story of a real pioneer (as her mother rightly called her).
|Pastor Kristine (Summer Hagen, photo by Scott Pakudaitis)|