Friendship enriches lives in ‘Steel Magnolias’
Grove Players, Lincoln Center, 935 Maple Ave., Downers Grove
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 9-18
(630) 415-3682 or groveplayers.com
Updated: November 7, 2012 2:38PM
Strong Southern women and the friendship that sustains them is at the heart of “Steel Magnolias.”
The Grove Players present “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling Nov. 9 to 18, at the Lincoln Center in Downers Grove. The play, which opened off-Broadway in 1987, became a successful movie starring Dolly Parton in 1989, then opened on Broadway in 2005.
Cal Turner of Naperville directs the play, which centers on a group of Louisiana women who meet regularly in Truvy’s beauty shop and serve as each other’s support group.
The story begins on the morning of Shelby’s wedding, and spans the next three years, touching on the unlikely friendship between Clairee and Ouiser, Annelle’s transformation from the shy new girl in town to one of the group, and Truvy’s relationships with the men in her family.
The friendship between the women is the thread that holds the fabric of the women’s lives together through years of joys and tragedy. For despite the light moments, “Steel Magnolias” is very much a drama, written by Harling after the death of his sister.
“There’s a lot of comedy in it, but it’s also a very poignant story,” Turner said. “I think the thrust is not comedy, but there’s a ton of comedy in it. The first act through halfway through act two, you might think you’re watching a comedy.”
This is his first time directing the play. “I was familiar with this play. I had seen it before, and I knew it was something I would enjoy directing,” he said. “It worked out pretty well.”
His cast of six actors includes: Kim White of LaGrange Park as Truvy, Sharon Voss of Wheaton as Annelle, Kathy Racine of Bolingbrook as Clairee, Elizabeth Renwick of Oak Brook as Shelby, Cheryle McKay of Clarendon Hills as M’Lynn, and Dorothy Attermeyer of Hinsdale as Ouiser.
“As the name implies, a magnolia is a very delicate flower, and yet to think of one made of steel, those are opposite things,” Turner said. “I think it shows the strength and resilience of these characters under less than ideal conditions. When tragedies strike, it shows how they endure and how resilient they can be.”~.