THEATRE IS ART.
And Hart County Community Theatre is serious about its art. That is why, I believe, the current production of ‘Steel Magnolias’ has been so warmly received by our audience night after night. Some may have been surprised that it was not a carbon copy of the movie. But the play was actually written years before the movie- Robert Harding wrote the poignant, witty story as part of his healing process after the death of his diabetic sister. The play’s town of Chinquapin Parish is a fictional representation of Harding’s own Louisiana hometown, the events tell the story of actual events from his life, and the characters were inspired by actual people. And those people looked nothing like Dolly Parton, Sally Field or Darryl Hannah, or any of the other actresses from the movie. Our director was insistent that we each understood our characters, and had us spend weeks on character development exercises. While it would have been easy to pantomime the actresses from the movie, he was adamant that we actually ignore what we remembered from the movie, and embrace the characters the way they were originally written, long before they were ‘adapted’ to fit those beloved Hollywood actresses. In fact, the actress that plays M’Lynn in our version has never even seen the movie. But through the vision of our director and her understanding of Harding’s character, she brings the audience to tears every. single. night. The actress playing Annelle perfectly exemplifies the progression of her character’s evolvement, almost becoming four different characters as each scene brings new events leading the young woman on a path of self discovery right before our eyes.
And my character does not look like Dolly Parton. Because I am not playing Dolly Parton. I am playing Truvy, a small town hairdresser with a heart of gold and penchant for flashy clothes and juicy gossip. And every other actress in our production does the same- bringing their own interpretation of the original character, telling the story as the playwright originally wrote it, line for line, not dropping lines we didn’t like or changing them to match the movie. Because that is how you do theatre. And I am so proud. Proud of each woman in this play. Proud of our director for leading us to tell this story. And proud that our audiences respond so enthusiastically to this production brimming with originality, wit, and genuine emotions. That is theatre. THAT is ART. And I am so lucky to be a part of it.
Two more performances. Please come see us!!