Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Cebuana actresses take the spotlight in ‘Steel Magnolias’

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — When I watched the Cebuano production of “Steel Magnolias” last Sunday, April 16, at the at the CENEWOF Theater of Marcelo Fernan Cebu Press Center, I had no idea that it was an adaptation of a popular Broadway play, let alone was adapted into a movie twice: in 1989 that had an all-star female cast consisting of Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley Maclaine, and Julia Roberts, and in 2012 led by Queen Latifah and Alfre Woodard. I came to the play not knowing what the story was going to be, other than the fact that the entire show takes place in a beauty salon.

“Steel Magnolias” focuses on a group of women in the ‘80s living in a small-town Southern community in Louisiana, USA who develop a strong sense of sisterhood while they get their hair and nails regularly done.

This local adaptation was mounted by 2TinCans Philippines, Inc. and is starred in by Cebuana actresses Dahlia Alegre-Borres as Ouiser, Yvette Yntig as M’Lynn, former The FREEMAN Lifestyle editor Marlinda Angbetic-Tan as Clairee, Charlene Virlouvet as Truvy, Clariza Mae Sevilla as Shelby, and Liana San Diego as Annelle. Produced by Sarah Mae Enclona-Henderson, it was directed by Allan Nazareno and Vincent Paul Gaton.

One of the best aspects of the play is its witty script, which is attributed to the fact that this production stayed loyal to Robert Harling’s material. The hilarious banter allows the audience to feel truly immersed in the story, almost as if the audience is in the beauty salon themselves and is part of the conversation with the ladies.

While most of “Steel Magnolias” is lighthearted, it never shies away from being serious when needed. It gives the characters depth and allowed the audience to feel sympathetic towards the ladies when things get dark. Rest assured, the play ends on a bittersweet note and one will still leave the theater feeling happy and contended.

These best aspects of the play were carried by the strong performance of the ensemble cast. It was crucial for the cast to give a convincing performance that they are from the South despite being played by Filipino actresses. It’s not an easy feat given the distant proximity between the Philippines and the South of the USA, but they got everything nailed down from the body language to the way they delivered their lines.

While its Cebuano run has wrapped up, 2TinCans is planning to mount more presentations in the future. When that happens, securing the ticket to see the play is worth the money and the experience.

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