Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 12, 2013

From the movies to stage, still a favorite


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — “All the world’s a stage,” according to William Shakespeare. The phrase from “As You Like It” is probably one of Shakespeare’s most popular, repeated everywhere from high school drama classes to song lyrics. It is so overused that many people do not even realize they are quoting one of the greatest writers of the English language. The same goes for other quotes, some from authors and famous people and others from popular movies. I have some friends and family members who can quote lines without hesitation; it is part of their conversations. But when I give them a confused look, they have to name the movie or book. Only then — like a light bulb going off in my head — do I remember, and laugh in appreciation. I love movies. I laugh at all the right places and can give a detailed plot summary days later. Yet, I cannot remember actually dialogue or funny lines, even from my favorite actors, or movies I have seen over and over again. Some movie lines beg to be repeated. To be quotable, a movie has to be funny, sad, universally appealing, timeless and a classic. No one goes around quoting lines from movies like “Battleship,” which was nominated as one of the worst pictures of 2012. But one of my favorites, “Steel Magnolias,” is a movie that fits the standard; it meets the necessary criteria — laughter and tears. One minute I am laughing at Ouiser’s outrageous remarks. Ten minutes later, my heart is breaking over the fragility of the mother and daughter relationship between Shelby and M’Lynn.

Men might not agree. The movie is geared towards women and takes place in a  beauty shop, a place where men don’t exactly find solace and comfort. For women, a beauty shop is one of two things: a place for girl talk or a nice, quiet afternoon retreat. In the movie, the women share their lives inside the beauty shop, where characters often quip memorable one-liners. Last week, I watched “Steel Magnolias” in a slightly different format, a play instead of a movie. 4Pals Production of “Steel Magnolias” was the perfect excuse for a girl night with my friend Crystal. We knew the movie by heart. However, we had never seen the movie performed as a play. A few acquaintances and friends, Kelly McCandlish-Knowles, Tina Perdue and Sara Helmadollar, played three of the main roles. On stage, the core values — friendship, sacrifice and loyalty — shine bright. Because the play revolves around scenes in Truvy’s beauty parlor, the audience can focus on the friendship between the six women. There are no males roles in the play. Hairspray and rollers are used in every scene. A pink and white beauty parlor sets the tone because pink is character Shelby’s signature color.

The play also places those memorable lines from 1989 back into every day conversations. Twenty-four years later, the perms and big, baggy sweaters from the ’80s are gone, out of style. Yet, the timeless universal truths with those famous one-liners are still applicable and quite frankly, funny. I laughed as much last weekend as I did when I first sat down as a teenager and watched the movie. Yes, “All the world is a stage” and that includes a beauty parlor in the south. The words of Robert Harling — the man who wrote the play version — might not be in the same category as William Shakespeare. But his work has a place for many women who love beauty parlor visits, deep friendship, red velvet cake and the colors blush and bashful. I am one of those women. Some days, I need a true friend, a piece of cake and a day in a beauty shop. Then there are evenings I need a girls night and a good dose of Ouiser, Clairee, Truvy, M’Lynn, Annelle and Shelby. The great poets have their famous works gathered together in anthologies and collections, revisited by different generations. Women have “Steel Magnolias.”

Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at jparsell@bdtonline.com or on Twitter @BDTParsell.