Masquerade Theatre's 'Steel Magnolias' debuts Oct. 4
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 20:09
Masquerade Theatre’s production of “Steel Magnolias” opens Oct. 4, 2012, at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Union City.
“Steel Magnolias” is a Comedy/Drama that examines the events that take place over a two-year period in the lives of six women, set in a beauty shop, located in the fictional small town of Chinquapin, La.
The play’s underlying themes are the importance of family and the value of friendship. The true meanings of these themes are seen through the challenges these six women face, such as abandonment, marriage, pregnancy and childbirth, sickness and death.
“What drew me to the play was, it’s very hard to find well-written characters for women of a certain age, and this play is just chocked full of them. All of the characters are so well-developed, and the dialog is so punchy and witty,” said Jonathan Johnson, director of the “Steel Magnolias” Bashful cast and UTM alumnus.
The six women in the play come from very different backgrounds and are all varying in age. Yet, on Saturday mornings in that beauty shop even Annelle, who is young, timid and cares about everyone, and Ouiser, who is a senior citizen that is very outspoken and a curmudgeon to boot, come together as friends.
Playwright Robert Harling wrote “Steel Magnolias” based on true events that happened in his life. His sister, Susan, was a Type 1 diabetic. She died after going into a diabetic coma, leaving behind a young son.
“Steel Magnolias,” a one-act play that eventually grew into a two-act play, was originally written as a form of grief therapy for Harling and a way to help his nephew know how special his mother was.
Linda StClair, Masquerade Theatre board member and “Steel Magnolias” executive director, explained that there are two casts, Bashful and Blush, each having a separate director, Jonathan Johnson and Brian Johnson, and one assistant director, Kerri Benthal for the Bashful cast, as part of an experiment to mentor a new generation of directors.
“We decided to have two casts so that each one of these young directors could be in control. Part of the mentoring process that I used was to have both directors write down their first, second and third choices for each character, and I did the same. I was happy to see that their first choice for each of the characters matched my first and second choice, meaning that if I had been double casting “Steel Magnolias” the same group of women would have been chosen,” StClair said.
A lot of work goes into making a play, not only for the actors, directors and assistant directors, but also for all the people that work behind the scenes.
“One of the things that people don’t necessarily always realize is the time that [the cast] sacrifices, and the time that they dedicate to getting ready for a show. ... If you do your job right, 90 percent of what you have to do as a director gets taken care of with casting,” said Brian Johnson, director of the “Steel Magnolias” Blush cast and UTM Lecturer of Psychology.
“Steel Magnolias” a Comedy/ Drama by Robert Harling
This play will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4-6, 2 p.m. on Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 11-13 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 14.
Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door 30 minutes before the play begins or ahead of time at: Lanzer Printing and Office Supply, 203 S. First St., Union City, 731-885-0651.
Masquerade Theatre upcoming events include auditions for “Annie,” a musical by Thomas Meehan, taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 29 and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept 30. Ages five and up are welcome.