Before the Curtain Opens: Behind the Scenes of Steel Magnolias
November 4, 2019
On the weekend of October 25, Mercy’s Footlighters put on a modern take on the 1987 classic Steel Magnolias, a play that follows a group of six women— Truvy, M’Lynn, Shelby, Annelle, Ouiser, and Clairee— as they deal with the tribulations of relationships, growing older, health scares, and the death of a beloved friend, all while uniting at the epicenter of it all- Truvy’s Beauty Salon. For the first time in recent Footlighters’ history, the show was double-casted, meaning that two actors played the same role in two different casts— a red and gold cast, dividing the show’s four performances into an equal two and two for each cast.
“I think it’s really cool that we decided to do two casts,” says Christy Martin ‘20, who plays Annelle in the gold cast. “Being a senior, it was nice to be given the opportunity to have a bigger role in one of my last shows.”
Under the directorship of Ms. Christina Napp, the two casts were able to put on heartfelt performances that chronicled moments of friendship, loss, and hair, taking the audience through a moving emotional journey— an impressive feat to do in barely two hours. In one pivotal scene, where M’Lynn, played by Brooke Rainville ‘20 and Rosiejo Genzola ‘21, has to deal with the anguish and anger of losing her daughter, Shelby, the auditorium was filled with a powerful silence, with the exception of sniffles heard throughout the crowd.
“It was interesting how the play utilizes both comedy and dramatics to cope with situations like death. When I was first cast as M’Lynn, who loses her child to diabetes, it was initially hard to get into that mindset. But after reading through the script and getting the opportunity to play her, I get to be in her shoes and really understand her situation in a way that I would not have been able to otherwise. It’s a unique experience to be able to become someone else and see how grief and loss affect people’s lives in this play,” says Rosiejo Genzola ‘21 on her role as M’Lynn.
Take a look at members of the two casts preparing before the show’s awaited opening night!