Caleb Ecarma, Staff Writer
Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias” is the next theatre production for the North Greenville University School of Theatre. The play will debut on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tigerville Theater, and will continue through Sept. 11-12, and Sept. 17-19.
This sentimental comedy is set in Louisiana during the 1980s and tells the story of a group of women who have all become close friends after years of going to the same beauty shop together. Their time at the beauty shop is spent gossiping about others private affairs.
Actress, Sherrie Peterson, who plays Truvy, described the play as, “A story about Americana at its finest in the south. It follows a group of women that have been in meaningful friendship with one another for many years; they know everything there is to know about each other. This show displays their journey, how they survive the difficult times of life together and how they maintain the attitude that life goes on.”
The title of this play comes from a symbol used often in southern culture to represent women. Magnolias are considered beautiful, fragile and dainty. The word steel is derivative of the fact that, while these women can be beautiful and dainty, they are strong, tough and determined to get through hard times together.
“Most people during this time period (the 1980s) believed that men possessed a strength that women didn’t," said Beth Norris, a senior theatre major who plays M'Lynn.
"(Men believed) that women were these frail, delicate, beautiful things, almost like flowers, that lacked an inner strength, but this play shows how women can have both and when this strength is combined with the bonds of friendship, they become a force to be reckoned with,” Norris added.
Despite being largely about the daily lives of six southern women, this play has a unique ability to identify with all audiences because of its main theme: the power of friendship.
“There are a lot of aspects in this play that make it easy to relate to," said North Greenville Jr. Rebekah Kington, who plays Shelby in the play.
"Everyone deals with both relationships and hardships on a daily basis. Everyone is either going through hard experiences, or knows someone that is going through a hard experience, so it’s very easy to make a connection with the audience,” Kington said.
The intentional focus on relationships and friendship gives the production an exceptional ability to cater to all audiences, despite gender or background.