Last year, Hell in a Handbag Productions first presented “The Golden Girls – The Lost Episodes” to Chicago audiences. What was planned as a summer run turned into a successful stint, leading to its current “The Golden Girls – The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2” and upcoming “The Golden Girls: Bea Afraid! – The Halloween Edition” directed by Becca Holloway.
In between productions, Holloway found time to talk to Rebellious.
Janet Arvia: What is it about “The Golden Girls” in general and the production specifically that resonates so much with audiences?
Becca Holloway: I think it really comes down to these beloved women. They spoke the truth, were fiercely funny, but also were great friends to each other. What Handbag brings to these familiar women is a lack of boundaries. We’re not inhibited by a network; we can say or do what we want, and the women take those chances. There are no topics left unscathed! It’s easy to fall into caricatures (especially with men playing women), but the actors always bring a sense of sentiment to all of their snide comments.
The cast (David Cerda as Dorothy, Grant Drager as Blanche, Adrian Hadlock as Sophia, and Ed Jones as Rose) is the same as in Handbag’s previous “Golden Girls” productions. How helpful was this when directing the new show?
It’s incredibly helpful because we have a shorthand at this point. These actors are phenomenal and really know their characters, so we get to spend rehearsal working on timing, trying different jokes, or adding silly props. We have such a quick turnover with these productions, it helps to have these actors on board that I already trust and know how to work with.
Who is your favorite Golden Girl?
It’s always so hard to pick, but the Girl I relate most to is definitely Dorothy. I love her quick quips, but she also has a soft spot for her mother and her Girls (even if she doesn’t show it that often).
In “Bea Afraid!,” the devil possess Sophia. Does that mean her personality changes, or is she the same as usual?
Sophia is always Sophia, no matter which evil entity may be controlling her!
How does the new show “The Halloween Edition” differ from “The Lost Episodes”?
The biggest difference between “The Lost Episodes” and “The Halloween Edition” is that we will be at Stage 773 with shows at 10:30 pm.
What can audiences expect from “Bea Afraid!”?
You’ll see your favorite Girls, as well as some familiar faces from previous versions of “The Golden Girls.” We will also have brand new episodes that will make audiences cry, either from fear or laughter (or both). Get ready to be spooked!
“The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2.” continues through Sept. 7 at Mary’s Attic. “The Golden Girls: Bea Afraid! – The Halloween Edition” performs from Oct. 13 to Nov. 3, 2018. For tickets and information, visit www.handbagproductions.org.
Photo of Becca Holloway by Marisa Lerman Photography