Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Steel Magnolias - Harling

Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling is one of my all-time favorite plays. When I discovered that my theater  club was going to do it, I had to sign on. I produced and, by the time it was over, stage managed, ran lights, handled publicity, and pretty much anything else that needed done!

The story of six Louisiana women in the 1980's, Steel Magnolias is set in the imaginary Chinquipin Parrish. Friends Truvy, Ouiser, Clairee, M'Lynn, Shelby, and newcomer Annelle gather on Shelby's wedding day to prepare. We learn on this first meeting that Shelby has diabetes. The story progress through two acts, four scenes total, telling the story of Shelby's welcoming a child, the discovery that the birth irreparably damaged her kidneys, and finally the group's acceptance of her death.

As sad as that sounds, this show is hysterical.  Seriously, hilariously funny! We lovingly called it a TRAGE-COMEDY. You should read it...and then read it again, because I guarantee that you missed something funny. I worked on the show, saw tons of rehearsals and six actual performances, and each night I laughed at something new.  Every. Single. Night!

Many of you will likely recognize the show from the movie version with Sally Field, Julia Roberts and Daryl Hannah. More recently, you may have seen the Lifetime version with Phylicia Rashād, her actual daughter, Jill Scott and Queen Latifah. Whichever version you choose, keep in mind that both movies expanded on the original script including additional locations and characters - which in my opinion, despite fabulous performances, took away from the real talent and skill needed to create these six characters.

But, the original is a masterpiece set only in a one-room beauty parlor with only six women.  Hysterically funny and heartbreaking, its definitely worth a read!

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.