South Carroll High School’s theater troupe, the Stagelighters, will perform the play “Steel Magnolias,” this weekend.
The play, written by Robert Harling, is based on his experience with his sister’s death related to Type 1 diabetes. It revolves around female friendships and bonding inside a Southern beauty parlor. A movie of the same name was made in 1989, starring Julia Roberts, and the play was produced on Broadway in 2005.
The title suggests the female characters are “as delicate as magnolias but as tough as steel.”
South Carroll’s production debuts today at 7 p.m., with shows Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Theater teacher and director Caitlin Widner said 51 students are involved with the production, 18 of whom are in the cast.
The ensemble even wrote its own scene for the show, Widner added.
“It’s heartwarming,” Widner said, “it’s beautiful, and I knew we had a really strong group of girls that could pull it off and really get into these characters and portray them well.”
The show was selected, in part, because of its strong theme of female empowerment, Widner said. The cast read an essay about the play as part of their involvement in the production.
“They had a really good discussion about it,” Winder said. “It was fun to listen, and they actually got pretty offended by it. They said the essay itself was misogynistic and had a very good discussion.”
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The parent of a South Carroll student who lives with Type 1 diabetes talked to the cast about the disease. Widner said diabetes affects multiple students at the high school and their families, and they noted medical advances since the time “Steel Magnolias” was written.
“The author’s sister died from complications of diabetes,” Widner said, “and this was kind of his ode to her and his mother and what they had gone through.”
Widner said she has always wanted to direct “Steel Magnolias.”
“The kids are very passionate about how absolutely it is still relevant,” Widner said. “Even though some of the comments and language is maybe outdated, this idea of people having a shared safe space where they go for comfort and having these other humans who support them and take care of them — it’s still so important for people to have and to realize.”
According to a news release, the play has a PG rating due to the mature content of death, illness and some adult language.
Tickets can be purchased online at scsl.booktix.com. Online tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students. At-the-door tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
Performances will be held in the auditorium of South Carroll High School, 1300 W. Old Liberty Road in Sykesville.