Fighting over a man is a tragedy as old as time.
In fact, it’s biblical.
Indeed, the inspirational play “The Bad Girls of the Bible: Pick Your Poison” draws its inspiration from the Good Book, and its relatable and very human story of how jealousy devastates like a plague of locusts is what inspired Beacon staffers Tanya Harris-Rocker and Fredrica Mack to join the production.
“The Bad Girls of the Bible: Pick Your Poison,” written by playwright Tracie Bonnick, draws from the Genesis account of Leah and Rachel. The sisters developed an intense rivalry after they were wed to the same man — Jacob. Also called Israel, the Hebrew patriarch was the grandson of Abraham, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, and the traditional ancestor of the people of Israel,” according to Britannica.com.
In this version of the sister story, there’s trouble at Lolita’s Gospel Bruch, a Christian/gospel-themed restaurant, as Wanda and Juanita try work through their hatred for each other.
Harris-Rocker plays Lolita, who inherited the place from her father. She is the good sister to Loretta, who’s brooding over her share of the inheritance and the close relationship Lolita enjoyed with their father.
“The play alludes to or mimics the biblical story of Leah and Rachel,” Harris-Rocker said. “I drew my inspiration from my own personal and others’ cultural and social experiences and scenarios such as family life/relationship, family and social conflicts, and community interactions in places like church and family gatherings, both positive and negative.”
The play is part of a genre known as gospel (or inspirational) musical stage play, which Deborah Smith Pollard describes in her article, “The Phenomenon Known as “The Gospel Musical Stage Play,” in the journal The CEA (College English Association) Critic, as “a unique combination of religious and dramatic conventions, subtle and overt cultural symbols — including music, modes of advertising, and choices.”
Mack — who showed symptoms of being bit by the acting bug during lunchbreaks when she delighted in acting out scenes from movies apropos to the conversation to amuse her co-workers — also previously performed in two Bonnick-produced plays (“Whipped” and “The Bad Girls of the Bible Christmas”). With “Pick Your Poison,” Mack wanted to explore a new challenge as stage manager.
This latest foray on stage was Harris-Rocker’s third outing with Bonnick and Moving4Word Productions. She previously was involved in “Bad Girls of the Bible” and “Bad Girls of the Bible Christmas.”
While Harris-Rocker hopes the audience was able to reap life lessons from the fertile interpersonal themes in “Pick Your Poison,” she also hopes there were other strong takeaways.
“I hope the audience came away with a strong sense of the writer’s mission to provide quality Christian and cultural entertainment, our commitment to deliver realistic characters that the audience can identify and fall in love with, and to connect with the cultural and church community references that are emblematic of African-American culture, experience, and social norms,” Harris-Rocker said.