EHS presents… Women supporting women in ‘Steel Magnolias’ on stage this weekend | Top Stories

When five elderly women from Edgemont decided to take part in the annual show organized by students for their senior options project, there was a clear choice: “Steel Magnolias”.

The play, set in Louisiana, features a group of six Southern women who regularly gather at a hair salon. “I think this show is really about the strength of women and being a community of strong women who can support each other… It’s just these women living their lives and certain tragedies strike,” said director Jasmine Rao. , who also plays Truvy. “It’s how they deal with it and how they support each other.”

The seniors quickly faced their first challenge: they had five seniors but needed a sixth to complete the cast. They eventually recruited junior Zoe Schuldenfrei to play the role of Ouiser.

(front) Abigal Duke, Eva Reduto; (standing) Daphne Luciano, Zoe Schuldenfrei, Rebecca Kim and Jasmine Rao

Luckily, all six actresses — Abigail Duke, Rebecca Kim, Daphne Luciano, Eva Reduto, Rao, and Schuldenfrei — had previous acting experience. While Rao took on the director role for the first time, the rest of the seniors took on new roles behind the scenes. Reduto and Duke worked on props, hair, makeup, and costumes, Kim focused on sets, and Luciano was the producer.

“Everyone kind of has their own expertise,” Rao said. “We all had our different roles, but it ultimately created this wonderful project.”

Managing the logistics and all the behind-the-scenes work was a challenge as the show is entirely student led and directed. “Finding out the budget and then also where to get our set was definitely a struggle, but I think we all pulled it off together,” said Luciano, who plays M’Lynn. “I think we all just learned a lot about how theater in general works behind the scenes and also on stage.”

Since the cast is so small, each actress had a lot of memorization to do, which isn’t easy, “but honestly, we’ve all really taken it into our own hands and are doing a really good job,” Rao said. .

Planning was another hurdle, especially for Schuldenfrei, as she always took lessons throughout the rehearsal process. They also had to find times when they could use the stage, with last week being the first time they were able to put their work on stage for tech week.

For the most part, COVID-19 hasn’t interfered much with production, with the only exception being a week-long hiatus. Rao acknowledged how lucky they were, thinking back to the senior production of “Clue” last year, when the seniors were forced to rehearse outside in the breezeway.

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Rebecca Kim, Daphne Luciano, Eva Reduto and Jasmine Rao

Fortunately, the group of six were already friends and had a strong relationship before the show, which made it much easier to overcome the difficulties of putting on a student-run show. “Working on this project has brought us all together a lot,” said Reduto, who plays Annelle. “We did a lot of problem solving. We had quite a few hurdles in the production of the show.

Some of the production’s current seniors were drafted in to help with last year’s senior production due to a lack of students. Luciano described this as a plus, as those who experienced last year’s show prepared the rest of the cast for the challenge they were about to face.

Reduto, who was one of the cast members last year, “expected this year to be a lot more chaotic” after last year was “very, very chaotic.”

“It was super fun and I loved it, but it was really crazy and I feel like our group of kids, just the people we have and the relationships with each other, it’s much calmer,” she said.

Being able to put together a production with close friends was a highlight for many. “I’ve been friends with these people for so long, but it’s very different to be on a show that’s about the strength of women and having these strong women in the cast,” Rao said.

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Rebecca Kim and Jasmine Rao

The show, which runs June 17 and 18 at 7 p.m., is free, but the cast encourages donations to the American Diabetes Association, an organization relevant to the production.

According to Luciano, audiences can expect the show’s many jokes. Along with the humor, another general theme is that “women are super powerful and the relationships they form with each other are even more powerful,” she said.

All of the students agreed that through this show they hope the audience understands the importance of having a supportive community. “I want audiences to see that there’s nothing more valuable than the relationships you create with other people,” Reduto said. “In the face of a tragedy like there is at the end of the show, the people you’re friends with and the people you’re close to are really going to be your support system.”

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Zoe Schuldenfrei and Eva Reduto

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