Steel Magnolias

September 25, 2015

At rehearsal, the atmosphere is busy and exciting. As the first scene is rehearsed, director Havilah Peters calls for pauses to give tips or add actions to a certain part of the scene.

“We have such a great cast,” Peters said.

Steel Magnolias is a play full of tragedy, drama, and comedy. A small beauty shop in northwest Louisiana is brought to life with laughter and tears. The City High drama program and cast will bring this narrative to life on the Opstadt stage. The cast and crew have started their preparations for what will be an intense eight weeks until the opening night on Oct 31st in Opstad.

“Packing in rehearsal after rehearsal within the next eight weeks is likely to take a toll,” Peters said. “It will require a lot of work for everyone involved.

There are moments of intensity in the play, especially towards the end that will require near-real theatrics. This intensity will challenge the cast, including Cassidy Slater-Scott ‘17, who has the role of the main character, Shelby.

“This is my first big role, and I’ve been putting in a lot of time practicing,” Slater-Scott said. “I don’t want to disappoint.”

 Slater-Scott believes Shelby is a character that speaks the truth, speaks her mind, and expresses her beliefs well.

“She’s a really challenging character, and I like that,” she said. 

Jilly Cooke ‘17, playing the role of Ouiser, the local curmudgeonly lady, will bring her experience from previous musical productions to provide comic relief

“This is the first play I’ve done at City High,” Cooke said. “It’s another chance to show off my comedic chops.”

Cooke says that the play is very realistic to life; full of ups and downs.

“It’s a simple play about Southern women in a shop talking about life,” she said.

Lizzie Carrell ‘18, playing the role M’Lynn, the mother Shelby, feels especially connected to the play. Having lost two aunts to gun violence about a year and a half ago, Lizzie says that she can relate to the strong emotions of the women in the play.

“I love being in plays,” Carrell said. “You can really become the character.”

Steel Magnolias, a famous and popular play, brings with it a degree of pressure, according to Carrel.

“People know Steel Magnolias. The play sticks with you,” she said. “You want to show it justice.” 

Peters believes that the cast’s size plays a role in its dynamic.

“With any cast, cohesiveness is important. With a small cast, it surfaces quickly,” Peters said. “All of them are compassionate women. They like to have fun and encourage each other.”

The character Shelby is a diabetic, and in the dialogue talks with her mother M’Lynn about how it could be life threatening to have a child. This particular dialogue resonates with Peters, who is a mother herself. 

“Having a child of my own, I can empathize with her want to have a baby,” Peters said. “It gives me a good perspective on how she feels inside.”  

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