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The Play “Steel Magnolias” to be Performed this Weekend at the Opera House

The Pocahontas Drama Workshop will be performing the play Steel Magnolias on Friday, May 17th at 7:30 p.m. and again at both 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18th at the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton. Tickets will cost $10.00 and will be available at the door.

Listen as we present just a tiny snippet of the play which not only has drama and tragedy, but is chuck full of little humorous one-liners to make you smile. The entire play is set in a beauty shop in a rural Louisiana town where six southern women bond and share life, humor, tragedy and each other’s friendship and loyalty. In this scene the characters Shelby, M’Lynn and Clairee discuss Shelby’s planned marriage ceremony.

 

“Hush girls! Shelby, tell me things about the wedding. How many Brides maids?

“Nine”

“Good Lord!”

“Exactly!”

“I hope that Photographer brings a wide-angle lens!”

“I think it’s embarrassing, but Mama made me have my cousins and Margie Sanmorise”

“Shelby! There was no way around it, and you know it.”

“It will be pretentious, and daddy always said ‘an ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.”

“Humm…the poet laurate of dogwood Lane.”

 

We interviewed the play’s Director, Charlie Magee Hughes to learn a little more about the play.

“Steel Magnolias is about a group of southern women who are close friends” said Hughes. “they come together every week at the beauty shop and they are together for the wonderful times, and also, of course, for the hard times. The story is, at its heart, the story of M’Lynn and Shelby, a mother and daughter; a tragedy that strikes and how their friends rally around and sort of the true kindness and grit and love between close friends”

“The play is written by a southerner based partially on his own mother, on his sister, on other women he knew growing up in a small town in Louisiana. It is a famous and much-loved movie for many of us. It originally started as a play about thirty-five years ago on Broadway, and this is actually the thirtieth anniversary of the movie coming out.”

“What I really love about it, it could easily wander into being sort of sickly sweet, but underneath some of those little tried and true sayings, is a really strong story and a really amazing universal story of how people help one another when truly horrifying things happen.”

We also talked with Rachel Fanning who plays one of the leading roles in the play, and asked about she sees her character.

“I play M’Lynn, who is the mother in the play” said Fanning. “Her daughter is a diabetic. She’s really very much a control freak. She’s over protective of her daughter, but at the same time trying to empower her  her whole life. So, they have a very combative but still loving relationship. I’ve enjoyed that part. Sally fields played it in the Steel Magnolias movie. My role has to deliver the sadness at the end, which is a challenge because you don’t want to be over dramatic. But at the same time, if anybody has watched the movie, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it, you cry at the end. So, I do feel a little pressure that I have to make people cry.”

Finally, we talked to one of the unsung heroes of the production, Jane Hubbert, who wears many hats in the production. She is the Stage Manager, Prop Master, the Costume Maker as well as serves as the janitor and gives the lines to the actors during rehearsal.

“I was always interested in theater since high school” said Hubbert. “And I believe it was in 2004 or 2005 Margaret Baker asked me if I would help her with one of her plays. With this particular play, we have one set, which makes it very easier for the Stage Manager, who also has to move the furniture around during the course of the play.”

The full cast is:

  • Rachael Fanning as M’Lynn
  • Allie Callison as Shelby
  • Blair Campbell as Clairee
  • Arla Ralston as Ouiser
  • Lisa McLaughlin as Truvy
  • Susan Grant as Annelle
  • Lisa Thompson as “the hometown DJ”

So, you are guaranteed a lot of laughs and a good cry at the end if you decide to take in this famous play on either this Friday or Saturday at the Opera house.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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