Written by Patrick Chavis
Steel Magnolias sounds like the perfect name for either a Guns N’ Roses cover band or a post punk, feminist rock group. It turns out to be neither (at least I don’t think so). Steel Magnolias is mostly known for the 1989 film with the all-star cast: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, and more. I could continue, because this movie was pumped with as much talent as Ocean’s 11. Before it hit the big screen, Steel Magnolias was a successful play because of its unique take on women, southern life, and death. Newport Theatre Arts Center’s talented cast gracefully pulls you into their southern Louisiana world. There’s no acting here, just six very unique women baring their souls on stage. On the surface it’s a show about a sad event that changes the lives of these women in a beauty parlor. Once you go deeper, the show really is about a bunch of Chatty Cathys that love to bicker about anything and everything, and having the strength to do it.
The play is set in a shop in Chinquapin, Louisiana, and centers around a lot of different conversations that occur while the women are getting their hair done. The dialogue in this play is funny but not over the top. It’s the kind of everyday humor that kind of pops out at you, and you can’t help but chuckle a little bit. The things that really make this show enjoyable are the relationships between the characters and how each one of them interacts with one another. This play is truly an actor’s piece. Just fifteen minutes in you already have a good idea where the plot is going, and you know it’s going to be sad. Still that inevitable sadness takes a backseat to the often funny and whimsical conversations and gossip the characters have. Continue Reading