One-Woman Show Breaks Booze Taboos

By May Wilkerson 06/21/12

Tara Handron's solo portrayal of 15 women struggling with alcoholism has a mission, she tells The Fix.

Handron's play shows alcoholism isn't a
black-and-white issue.
Photo via

Tara Handron is the sole actor and playwright in the show Drunk With Hope in Chicagoand in one dizzying hour, she portrays 15 different alcoholic women in various stages of active addiction and recovery. The play, which she wrote as part of her Master's thesis for Georgetown University, aims to subvert social stigmas against alcoholics—particularly women. Although "it's gotten better," Handron tells The Fix, "for a long time it's been taboo to be an active alcoholic, which prevents many women from seeking recovery." The media often depicts addiction in "black and white extremes," she notes—when in reality, addiction takes "so many different forms." Handron, who also works at the Caron Foundation in DC, compiled her characters based on the many women she's met and spoken with in the course of her work and her personal life. She's so far performed the play, which is directed by Laura Brienza, at conferences and theater festivals across the US—including New York City and DC as well as her hometown, Chicago. And she hopes the show will help people to see addiction "as a disease, an illness, not a moral deficiency." Drunk With Hope in Chicago runs tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at LA's Theater of NOTE, as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. You can find tickets here.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.