This week Laura and Joelle are joined by David Cerda, Artistic Director of Hell in A Handbag Productions. Hell in A Handbag Productions (HIAH) is known for the amazing theatrical parodies including The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes now showing volume 3 at Mary’s Attic at 5400 N. Clark through August 31.
“As a writer, it’s my job to make fun of everybody. I’m not just attacking one group or the other. I’m just exposing the silliness in our society.”
– David Cerda
Listen to Episode 68 with David Cerda!
Here are some references from Episode 68 that you may want to check out:
- David is from Northwest Indiana and moved to Chicago around 38 years ago. He didn’t get involved in theatre until his mid thirties, when he had a “Come to Jesus” moment about what he was going to do for the rest of his life. He then discovered his love for writing and got involved with Sweetback Productions playing bit parts and writing shows.
- His first big hit was SCARRIE- The Musical in 1998, which ran for 18 months, and that what really got him started in the theatre industry.
- Hell in a Handbag Productions (HIAH) was formed after David parted ways with Sweetback Productions.
- The first production of HIAH was Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical on a small budget. It was a hit, ran for 8 months, and when to the New York International Fringe Festival, which gave them the money to start the company. Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical also won the best ensemble award and was the most attended show at the New York International Fringe Festival. HIAH has revived it twice since then.
- David has many roles at the theatre, including artistic director, resident playwright, and actor. He explains that it can be overwhelming, but the theatre has many hands helping out, even though they’re small.
- One of their favorite places to perform, as an itinerant theatre, is Mary’s Attic (5400 N. Clark) in Andersonville. The company has great relationships with the businesses in Andersonville, and they’re glad to bring their audience’s business to Andersonville.
- HIAH is currently showing two productions: The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3 and The Drag Seed. David explains that when he’s writing he thinks about what would be interesting to the audience.
- The Golden Girls was something mentioned to him multiple times by audience members, so he decided to write something based off of it. Although there are many Golden Girl theatre shows around the country, HIAH is the only one doing all original scripts. They start with prompts like, “wouldn’t it be funny if…” and see how the situation plays out. The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3 is running through August 31 at Mary’s Attic.
- The Drag Seed was based off of a classic movie called The Bad Seed. HIAH tried to get the rights for the play, but were denied as they didn’t want men in drag playing some of the roles. So David wrote his own version. The Drag Seed is running through August 21 also at Mary’s Attic.
- In 2016, David was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, which he says was a big surprise. The performance style of “camp” has always been a part of who he is and he believes that it’s our job to help each other as a part of civilization. Check out David’s write up on his camp style in the archives of the Chicago Reader.
- Next up in the fall for HIAH is the Facts of Life: Satan’s School for Girls. It’s a musical mashup of The Facts of Life TV show and two made for TV movies David loved as a child: Satan’s School for Girls and The Initiation of Sarah. This new production will be opening towards the end of September.
- If David could trade places with an Andersonville business for a day, he would pick FOURSIDED (5061 N Clark). He loves its aesthetic and its unique selection. He also loves Kopi Café (5317 N Clark) thanks to it’s funkiness. He wants Kopi, and places like it, to stick around Andersonville for a long time.
“People call it a LGBTQ theatre, but it’s really just for anybody that feels like they don’t fit in.”
– David Cerda