By Sophie Shelton and Eva Andrews
Photos by Claire Smithers and Ariel Becker
As Clairee, played by Sarah Hallett, from “Steel Magnolias” would say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!” Salem College’s Pierrettes presented “Steel Magnolias” from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2. While the cast was small, the reaction to the show was quite large. The production tugged heart strings and left audience’s sides aching from laughter. The set design was impressive with a clear blend of colors and retro statement pieces. The costumes and wigs were true to their time and consistent with each character.
Each actor was able to clearly embody their character which helped with personal comedic timing. In addition, the actors also convinced the audience of the reality during tense and emotional scenes. The actors maintained a sense of professionalism during any unrehearsed moment. On opening night a picture frame fell off the wall when a door was slammed shut. While it was very obvious that this was not intended, the actors seamlessly moved on from the mishap.
There were several times when comedic moments were lost as a result of an actor’s inability to keep a straight face. On occasion, an actor even laughed during their own comedic line which lessened the humor of the line. Overall, the production was impressive and highly entertaining. The cast was confident in what they brought onto the stage and it showed through the quality of this production.
Junior Shea Bove commented on the performance of the characters in the play. “I had never seen any production of Steel Magnolias before and was quite impressed with the cast and the production. My favorite characters were definitely Ouiser and Clairee. The production made me so curious that I actually watched the movie version that very night,” she says.
Within the play, several actors were shining stars. Shania Guy played the character Truvy Jones and maintained her character’s accent flawlessly. The character Clairee kept the crowd chuckling throughout the performance alongside the snarky character Ouiser, played by Stephanie Marson. The two actors had a dynamic between them that kept the punchlines rolling. Overall, the performance was triumphant despite the small crowd and the actors gave the performance their all.