Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Stage to film: Laurie Attea on set of Hannah Free
by Jorjet Harper

This article shared 4100 times since Wed Sep 23, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In some way, Laurie Attea set everything in motion. She discovered Claudia Allen's play Hannah Free in a slush pile at the Bailiwick Repertory theater and decided to direct it. This original stage production of Hannah Free was produced in 1992. When the play was about to be filmed, in 2008, Attea was asked to help with the casting. "I then got swept up in the idea of the production," she said, and she became not only casting director for the film but also second assistant director, a job she had never done before.

She was a fast learner. During filming, Attea was a ubiquitous presence, clipboard in hand. "As it turns out, the job of the 2nd AD is very similar to that of a stage manager on stage," she said. "You're the first one on set and the last to leave. There's lots of paperwork. But one of my primary roles was acting as liaison between the actors and the set, which I very much enjoyed. I also organized the extras, dealt with call times for cast and crew and tried to keep things running on schedule."

Looking back on the original play, staged at Bailiwick, Attea said, "I'm not sure that the message has changed any from when we first produced the play. We didn't have a lot of media role models back then, the movies and television shows didn't have gay and lesbian characters as a matter of course. I think it is much easier now for people to hear and respond to some of the issues because they are more in the forefront of our thinking and more possible now. I think it was also harder to be in a gay or lesbian relationship 25 years ago than it is now. We now have many examples of lesbian couples in long-term relationships. I can offer mine as being one: my partner Lauren and I have been together 19 years."

Not only was it more difficult to be accepted as a same-sex couple years ago, but "the negative connotations made it difficult for some gays or lesbians to accept themselves," Attea said. "Of course, the small-town aspect is still alive—it is still not easy being gay or lesbian in a small town." With the advent of gay marriage and domestic-partner rights ( in some states ) , she added, "we've come a long way in some aspects and in some areas. Being able to care for the person you love should be a right for any person regardless of sexual orientation. I think Hannah Free reminds us of that as we continue with that struggle now."

Attea explained some of the practical differences between the staging of the play and the shooting of the film. "One of the differences between the script and screenplay are the amount of roles. In the stage play, the actresses playing Hannah and Rachel played them at all ages," while in the film, different actresses of different ages were needed to show the two main characters at different stages in their lives. Also, "the stage play didn't have as many sex scenes ( or any at all, I think ) . It was a more innocent play; we saw the characters' deep love for each other, but not so much the sexual passion."

Among the group of actors who worked on the film, Attea pointed out that many had been in previous stage productions of Hannah Free: "I don't think any of them, except Pat Kane, played the same roles, but it is a testament to Claudia Allen and this play that so many of them wanted to be a part of the film. A woman who had played the role of Hannah in a Madison production even drove to Chicago from Madison, just to be an extra in the film!"

Since the interior scenes were shot in an historic 19th-century South Side mansion, creaking floors and other noises needed to be silenced during the shooting so as not to spoil the scenes, and this too was part of Attea's job. "We had PAs [ production assistants ] stationed throughout the house, at the back door, upstairs and sometimes even outside to try and keep everyone quiet when we were shooting," Attea said. PAs communicated with each other by headsets so they would know when they needed to keep everyone quiet. PAs shouted "Lock it up!" whenever the cameras began rolling. The squeaking floors were a problem because, Attea explained, "any movement could be picked up by the audio techs, so we needed to keep people quiet near the set, outside the set and above the set. We were all in very close quarters on these sets, so any unwanted sound could ruin a take. At times, a lot of people had to fit into small spaces to shoot the scenes."

There was also the problem of noises from the urban environment. "Many times there would be outside noise that we had to go out and try and stop," Attea said. "Trucks or kids playing, lawns being mowed, etc. Not everyone wanted to stop what they were doing because we were shooting a movie, but I think most people tried to accommodate us." When the crew was short-handed, entry doors would be locked so no one would burst in, making noise, in the middle of a take. Even with the closed doors, heat was difficult to maintain in the huge, rambling house. "I remember it was always very cold in the house and people were usually in their coats, hats, scarves, etc," Attea added. "I always had multiple layers on to keep myself warm."

Attea said it was "a great learning experience, and a pleasure for me. I appreciate and respect actors a great deal, and I had a wonderful group of actors and extras that I worked with on this film."

This article shared 4100 times since Wed Sep 23, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Beyonce concert film 'Renaissance' debuting Dec. 1
Media outlets have reported that the theatrical release date for Renaissance: A Film By Beyonce—a movie chronicling the superstar's most recent world tour—is Dec. 1. Advance tickets are already available for sale on major theater chains ...

Gay News

Gavin Newsom chooses Black queer activist to fill Feinstein's Senate seat
California Gov. Gavin Newsom—fulfilling a promise to appoint a Black woman to the seat—tapped queer Democratic strategist Laphonza Butler to fill the Senate post held by the trailblazing Dianne Feinstein, who died on Sept. 29, The ...

Gay News

WORLD African efforts, HIV in Amsterdam, Donatella Versace, 'The Queen in Me'
A new attempt to prevent the recognition of and equal rights for LGBTQ+ people in Kenya through a constitutional amendment has been introduced in Parliament, The Washington Blade reported. The move was in response to this ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ player wins WNBA's MVP Award
Breanna Stewart won her second WNBA MVP award after a career-best scoring season in her first season with the New York Liberty, Yahoo! Sports reported. The WNBA posted on X (formerly Twitter), "Stewie averaged 23.0 PPG, ...

Gay News

Megan Rapinoe receives send-off in last international match
Lesbian soccer icon Megan Rapinoe received a triumphant send-off in her last international match, and the United States beat South Africa 2-0 at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sept. 24, per ABC News. Trinity Rodman and Emily ...

Gay News

Reeling Film Festival chooses Family first for opening night
Reeling: The 41st Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival kicked off a night of festivities with its first feature The Mattachine Family at Music Box Theatre on Sept. 9. One of the longest-running film festivals in the ...

Gay News

Nobody's Darling celebrates expansion into adjoining property with soft opening event
In the little over two years since its opening, Nobody's Darling in Andersonville has emerged as one of the premiere inclusive spaces to gather in Chicago. Nobody's Darling has become so successful that co-owners Angela Barnes ...

Gay News

THEATER Mosaic Players revives 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
Are suburban Illinois and Wisconsin towns ready to welcome 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche into their churches, synagogues and community colleges? The artists of a Lake County theater company certainly think so. "I was very pleasantly ...

Gay News

Reeling: The 41st Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival kicks off Sept. 21. As is our annual tradition at Windy City Times, writer Steve Warren took a look at a few of the festival highlights this year. ...

Gay News

Reeling premieres a queer coming of age story told through a Southern Gothic lens
Ganymede, a Southern Gothic horror film that explores a teenager's experiences as he discovers his sexuality, will premieres Sept. 23 as part of the 41st Reeling Film Festival. The film, according to Chicago filmmakers Colby Holt ...

Gay News

WORLD French fund, mausoleum, Abrazo Grupal, Biden, Billie Jean King
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced a fund to help promote the rights of LGBTQ+ people, French24 reported. She made the announcement at the 15th anniversary of an LGBTQ+ group at the United Nations at the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ John Waters, Madonna, Miriam Margoyles, Angelica Ross, 'Cassandro'
Openly gay film director John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, Cry-Baby) received his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Reporter noted. (Actors Ricki Lake and Mink Stole as well as photographer Greg Gorman were ...

Gay News

Mets honor lesbian baseball icon Maybelle Blair
On Sept. 14 at NYC's Citi Field, the New York Mets recognized the life work of lesbian baseball pioneer Maybelle Blair, 96, with the inaugural Amazin' Mets Foundation Legacy Award, according to a Major League Baseball ...

Gay News

Marge Summit's life to be celebrated Oct. 15
--From a press release - A celebration of the extraordinary life of Marge Summit, the legendary Chicago bar owner, promoter of live music artists, political advocate and much more who passed away on May 16, 2023. Born Sept. 3, 1935 in ...

Gay News

WORLD Quebec lesbians, violence study, Rugby World Cup, Ugandan bill
The hidden history of Quebec lesbians is being explored, the CBC reported. Between 1985 and 1996, a group of lesbians leased the Plateau-Mont-Royal school and ran it as a community center. The school was also home ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.




About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.