By Tanna M. Friday, Managing Editor
TRUSSVILLE — In Chinquapin, Louisianna, everybody who is anybody gets their hair done at Truvy’s beauty shop – where the women are all sass and brass and where outspoken Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to a coterie of eccentric characters.
Through clouds of hairspray and over the buzz of blow dryers, six southern women weather tragedies, challenges, and triumphs to their beliefs about family, culture, and community. Infused with heart and humor, this wisecracking group of women form friendships as strong as steel, which they are forced to lean on when tragedy strikes.
This performance traces this eccentric and lovable cast of characters as they support each other through life’s many challenges, beginning on the day of debutante Shelby’s wedding. Steel Magnolias is alternately hilarious and touching and, in the end, deeply revealing of the strength that binds these ladies together.
This week and next week, director Shari Olm will bring this story of six women bound by tradition and tragedy to life in a one-set performance at Trussville’s ACTA Theatre. Olm says that Robert Harling’s play is a special performance she has always wanted to direct.
“Over the years, I have directed farces like Rumors and murder mysteries like And Then There Were None, but never a show like this,” Olm said. “I call shows like this a ‘slice of life.’ I’ve always wanted to be involved with this show in some way. I finally got my chance and was truly blessed with this wonderful cast. These ladies have made this show easy and fun.”
Choosing a cast with a wide breadth of experience, Olm said that the right cast stepped into their roles portraying characters who share strong common bonds and friendships.
The cast includes Alex Cardwell as Shelby, Kim Hutchens as M’Lynn, Karen Carroll as Ouisier, Kathryn Gilmer as Clairee, Heather Duncan as Truvy, and Whitney Howton as Annelle.
Staying true to Harling’s vision that the story takes place in a renovated garage. Olm relied heavily on recreating this similar space allowing them to direct more energy toward the emotional side of her characters, who are said to be as “delicate as flowers and tough as steel.”
“I couldn’t have been more blessed as a director,” she said. “The cast is amazing, making the performance magical and memorable.”
Showtimes for Steel Magnolias are 7 p.m. February 11-12, 17-19, and 2:30 p.m. February 13 and 20. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students and can be purchased at https://acta.booktix.com. For more information about the theatre, please visit www.actatheater.com.