HUNTSVILLE – With a combination of humour and heartbreak, the women behind Tangerine Productions thought the well-known movie Steel Magnolias would be an excellent choice for their next stage play.
Robin Clipsham, front, and Jennifer Creasor act out a scene from Tangerine Productions’ latest stage play, Steel Magnolias.
Photo by Mandi Hargrave
“We like to do all-women shows,” said Jennifer Creasor, one of the founders of Tangerine Productions, who plays the character Annelle. “It’s funny and sad at the same time. It’s really well written.”
The story follows a group of women who have their hair done every Saturday morning at a beauty parlour owned by Truvy, who is played by Katie Minnis. Tragedy strikes the group when one of the ladies, who has diabetes, dies unexpectedly.
Unlike the movie, the play never leaves the beauty parlour and the cast is simply the six women from the parlour.
As a drama, Steel Magnolias gave the actors a chance to do something different.
“It’s something we haven’t touched on, as we’ve been doing musicals,” said Jeanine Spring, another founder of Tangerine Productions, who plays M’Lynn.
The idea for this performance has been brewing in the mind of Tangerine Productions’ third member, Sherisse Stevens, for some time now. She brought the idea to Creasor and Spring and the three watched the movie.
“The personalities we have suit the characters,” she said.
But the premise of the story also holds a special place in Stevens’ heart, as her niece, Ciara, and nephew, Devon, both have Type 1 diabetes and Ciara nearly dearly died from the disorder.
With every show, Tangerine Productions donates the proceeds to a local cause. This year the funds from the Huntsville performance will go to the dialysis unit at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital and the funds from the Gravenhurst show will be given to the diabetic clinic at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge.
Most of the women in the performance have been working together since 2005. Tangerine Productions had its first season in 2010.
With a cast that has worked together numerous times before, rehearsals run along smoothly.
“It’s easy to work with a cast that trusts each other so much,” said director Suzanne Riverin, who has been directing for 40 years. “It has to be for a show like this because it is such an ensemble production; there is no star.”
“She’s a hidden gem nobody knew about,” said Spring.
Steel Magnolias will be at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville on Sept. 14 and 15 and at the Opera House in Gravenhurst on Sept. 21 and 22.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at www.algonquintheatre.ca or www.gravenhurstoperahouse.com.