‘Steel Magnolias’: Laughter through sadness
“Steel Magnolias” is a play about laughter and sadness, and most importantly laughter through that sadness. The play is set in a small parish in Louisiana called Chinquapin in a hair salon owned by Truvy Jones. The cast is relatively small, made up of only five people, but the impact it leaves on your heart […] The post ‘Steel Magnolias’: Laughter through sadness appeared first on Indianapolis Recorder.
“Steel Magnolias” is a play about laughter and sadness, and most importantly laughter through that sadness. The play is set in a small parish in Louisiana called Chinquapin in a hair salon owned by Truvy Jones. The cast is relatively small, made up of only five people, but the impact it leaves on your heart is huge. “Steel Magnolias” will run at the Indiana Repertory Theatre through June 5.
Under the direction of Laura Gordon, the play manages to show themes of widowhood, health problems and a community in a light-hearted, but memorable way. The set of the play is Truvy’s salon. A kitchenette adorns the left of the stage, hair drying seats in the middle, a sink on the right and of course the dressing chair sits center stage. The set brought a warm atmosphere to the play and made me feel like I was next in line to get my hair done.
The play is set over years’ worth of Saturday morning hairdos where a group of women meet to exchange town secrets and recipes. The play starts with a new apprentice Annelle Dupuy DeSoto joining the shop on Shelby Eatenton Latcherie’s wedding day. It’s in the first few moments when the characters enter the shop that we get a taste of who they are as people. Annelle is shy and nervous on her first day, while Shelby is out-going, loves the color pink and is optimistic.
It’s all fun and laughs until we get our first taste of tragedy when Shelby has a diabetic episode in the salon chair. We also get our first sense of her and her mother M’Lynn’s relationship. It is clear that they care for each other, but they disagree on almost everything in a snappy, but polite way.
We learn throughout the play that the men are lacking. Clairee Belcher is widowed, Annelle’s husband is a criminal who has left her and Truvy’s husband “hasn’t left the couch in 15 years,” or at least he did once long enough to build her a salon to support them. Through each detail we get another look into the character’s life and mannerisms. Each character is profoundly unique enough that everyone should be able to see a little bit of themselves in each individual.
My favorite character is Ouiser Boudreaux, who goes from menacing and loud in the beginning to one of the most loving characters by the end. Her character develops in a way that you can understand why she is the way she is. And, she was the funniest one. Naomi Jacobson who played Ouiser did an outstanding job embodying the character.
M’Lynn’s character was developed as strong and independent, focusing on taking care of and guiding her ill daughter. However, Annie Fitzpatrick who played M’Lynn, did a great job of displaying grief and radiating that energy to the crowd. The balance of a tough independent woman and grieving mother seemed effortless. So much so that I was crying along with her by the end. Each actress played each character perfectly, giving each character their own unique personality, mannerisms and style. “Steel Magnolias” was delightful, I would watch it every night over and over again if I could.
If you go:
What: “Steel Magnolias”
Where: : Indiana Repertory Theater
When: Now through June 5
Cost: Tickets start at $25
Contact staff writer Jayden Kennett at 317-762-7847 or by email JaydenK@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @JournoJay.
The post ‘Steel Magnolias’: Laughter through sadness appeared first on Indianapolis Recorder.