Steel Magnolias Makes Waves at Wagner College

When being a part of a single narrative and shared experience, the moods and emotions one would feel are shared with everyone with an expectation of satisfaction towards the end. The goal of participating in a story where essential story elements are at stake is to have the audience unite under its common theme, hopefully dissecting the discourse by its end. This all was executed with the verbalized passion of Kamila Szandrowski’s vision of the play she recently directed. At Wagner College, the evolved adaptation of the dramatic comedy Steel Magnolias proved its timelessness to an audience whose experience differed in their age.
A performance of this nature would have a feminist approach that is fiery and straight from the heart. Script aside, Szandrowski created an intimate setting that would result in an impenetrable bond if just about anyone were to take part in it. The stage itself was an interpretation of an at-home hair salon run by an eccentric middle-aged woman that nested 100% of the laughs and tears. Intentionally square, the stage was on ground level facing all three sides of the audience. There was even a stack of magazines that the women grabbed before making their way to the hair washing station.

The 360-degree set was a great way for each woman in the show to get their undivided attention from the audience. Three salon chairs faced each of the sides where the audience was. The natural rotation took its course having six women create three different relationships under one medium. This ingeniously created a more physical show to help balance such seriousness towards the end of the second act. The actual nail polish and hairspray used circled the venue, and the viewers sacrificed their nostril health for the sake of art! And how worth it it was.

Events like these are obviously rare when there is a free student-run production that manages to sell itself out with the awareness that everyone there is using their time, therefore they expect quality. Luckily, the time was worthwhile and Szandrowski’s vision struck classic forms of empathy that big budget show’s could often miss.  

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