Actresses deliver great performance in ‘Steel Magnolias’

PHOTO+BY+OLIVIA+EBERSOLE

PHOTO BY OLIVIA EBERSOLE

Madeline Walker

BY MADELINE WALKER (’17)

The theater department’s production of “Steel Magnolias” was a massive success. The cast, comprised of six young actresses, was an endless source of laughs.

The play explores the peculiarities of female friendship, as shown by the gossiping girls at “Truvy’s,” the local hair salon. Truvy (Zoe Guiney) filled the role of the clever and loquacious hairstylist. Truvy was portrayed  as a friendly gossip, eager to help her friends in need. This was proved to be true when Truvy takes in Anelle (Kayla Braden). Anelle was seen as a  lost girl looking to make a home for herself. Braden showed the anticipation and hopefulness that Anelle embodied perfectly, delivering an excellent performance. The playful banter between Truvy and Anelle entertained the audience, and was enjoyed by all.

The role of Clairee (Ally Guiher) was a calming and comforting character in the often dramatic circle of friends. Clairee is seen throughout the play as a supportive and helpful friend. Guiher truly did shine in the supporting role.

The mother-daughter duo of Shelby (Emma Jernigan) and her mother M’ Lynn (Hailey Rizor) added depth to the play. Initially, the pair seemed no different than any mother and daughter, quarreling over hair styles on Shelby’s wedding day. Both Jernigan and Rizor performed in a way that was relatable to the audience, causing people to recall past clashes and squabbles they’d had with their own mothers. But then, the plot took a turn for the worse, shocking first time viewers of the play.

The audience quickly learns that Shelby is ill. Upon receiving news that she is pregnant, both her health and future become uncertain. Heartbreak was not far behind, the girls at “Truvy’s” were devastated when they received word that Shelby had died.  Perhaps the crowning moment of “Steel Magnolias” was Rizor’s heart-wrenching monologue, mourning the death of her beloved daughter. The emotion in the auditorium was palpable as both M’ Lynn and the audience were forced to let go of Shelby. The speech perfectly captured the pain of loss and brought the play to a peak.

Ouiser (Renata Irving) was the unsung hero of “Steel Magnolias.” Ouiser offered comic relief throughout the play and took pressure off of tense scenes. Irving expressed the quirkiness and hilarity of her character excellently.

Perhaps the most notable thing about “Steel Magnolias” was the all female cast. The cast wants to spread the message that women’s stories are important, too. It became clear after mingling with the cast after the show, that they took great pride in the all- female production.