I’d never seen a stage production of one of my favorite movies, STEEL MAGNOLIAS (1989), and I was absolutely enthralled with Alter High School’s production.
Quite often, if we’ve seen a movie adapted from a play prior to seeing the stage production, the stage version may be difficult to swallow because of the film’s expanse in locations and other necessities to make it motion picture standard. STEEL MAGNOLIAS, on stage, never leaves Truvy Jone’s beauty shop where all four scenes are played. Playwright Robert Harling’s package is so tightly, beautifully written that it compliments both stage and screen. Alter High School’s Castle Players complimented Harling’s play.
The set was stunning. I’ve come to expect excellent sets from Alter High School, but this particular set just seemed perfect, even comfortable. What caught my eye most was the painted floor that looked like pink and greyish tile barely fringed by the black edge of the stage. The beauty of it was that from my high perspective, the floor, under certain lighting, appeared to be a quilt spread out over a large bed, overflowing to the floor. I don’t know the designer’s intention but the effect was quite lovely – the packed wrapped with ribbon and a bow.
The only thing missing was the smells associated with beauty salons!
It’s truly a beautiful show filled with tremendous humor and treasured witticisms. It feels like the perfect drama.
The six young ladies who tackled this production were excellently cast and directed by Megan Wean Sears on the thrust stage in the newly opened auditorium on Alter’s campus. This is the second production/play I’ve seen this current school year and the thrust stage is such a great asset to shows. I felt it worked particularly well for STEEL MAGNOLIAS as we, the audience, were pulled closer to into the lives of Shelby, M’Lynn, Annelle, Clairee, and Ouiser.
The sextet was consistent with their portrayals and very three-dimensional. They treated the tender moments, as well as the humorous moments, which were numerous, with intelligent choices and maturity. I was completely drawn to each performer’s character and left the show asking myself, “Where are M’Lynn, Annelle, Truvy, Clairee, and Ouiser, now?”
A special shoutout to my student, Marisha Ruth Osowski, who played Shelby. Beautiful job, Kiddo!
There are two more performances of this timely play that celebrates women!
Standing ovation worthy!
Marisha Osowski’s photo credit: Lori Osowski’s Facebook page