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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Theatre ‘steels’ the show

Park’s Theatre performs ‘Steel Magnolias’
Estrella Ochoa
Senior Coco Gruen and sophomore Elliott Netoff rehearsing as the show’s DJs during the first act of “Steel Magnolias.” “Steel Magnolias” premiered April 19 and had two following shows April 20 and 21.

Park’s Theatre presented “Steel Magnolias” on April 19, 20 and 21. It displayed a rollercoaster of laughs, joy, shock and heartbreak. The play is based on a real story set during the 80s in Louisiana with six main female characters. Each character goes through their own struggles and successes, which gives the play compassion and flavor.

According to senior Coco Gruen, who played one of the DJs, there were difficulties with dialogue while performing “Steel Magnolias.”

“The six main characters have so many lines to memorize,” Gruen said. “So memorization has been a real challenge, but everyone’s doing a really good job.”

Theater director Jodi Schifsky said there were emotions she wanted the audience to experience.

“There are some great jokes, and then some gut punches,” Schifsky said. “We’ve really been working on playing up both, there’s that contrast, so we can make you laugh and then, the next minute, we’re gonna rip your heart out.”

Sophomore Libi Ackerman, who played the character Ouiser, said her experience with a minuscule cast and the relationships she made, brought the group closer.

“This is my first time being cast for a show with a smaller amount of people,” Ackerman said. “It’s a very different experience — it feels kind of like a little family.”

According to Gruen, the surroundings of the play are different from previous shows Park has performed.

“It’s only one set, unlike a lot of the other shows that we’ve done, where there’s like constantly moving sets for each scene, we never really leave the salon. That’s pretty cool,” Gruen said.

According to Schifsky, the play represents women empowerment and the strength female relationships can have.

“There’s a strong message about the power of friendship and relationships and how strong those female friendships can be,” Schifsky said. “The whole title sort of comes from how tough these women are. They are the steel pillars, while the men sometimes fall apart on some of these bigger occasions.”

According to Gruen, she is happy to have the opportunity to see how the play lands with the audience.

“I’m excited for people to see how funny the show is and also see how dramatic (it is) and just get a little blindsided by that. I’m just excited to see the audience’s reactions,” Gruen said.

According to Ackerman, the ups and downs in the show took a lot of effort to display.

“We have a lot of very high comedic moments and a lot of very sad low moments,” Ackerman said. “The main difficulty is trying to find that balance to really bring out the characters in a way that rings true.”

According to Schifsky, “Steel Magnolias” was an opportunity for parting juniors and seniors to be honored for what they have done for the program.

“This was a way to celebrate some of these students who’ve been a huge part of our program and sort of lift them up, especially those who are juniors and seniors and will be leaving our programs,” Schifsky said.

According to Ackerman, the play has a certain significance due to its down-to-earth element that makes it stand apart from other shows.

“I think (“Steel Magnolias”) is different because every show is important, but this is not just some silly little fairy tale or Shakespeare, it’s a real story written by real people about real lives,” Ackerman said.

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Leo Justesen
Leo Justesen, Echo Staffer
Hi everyone! My name is Leo and I can't believe I am a senior and this is my last year at echo! Anyways I'm a big guy with a bigger heart. I love chillin’ with television, there's also a chance you’ll catch me at the archery range shooting bullseyes. And creativity is one of my best abilities. I'm gonna make the most of my last year here and it's gonna be a fun ride!
Estrella Ochoa
Estrella Ochoa, Echo Staffer
Hiya! My name is Estrella Ochoa and I’m in my senior year! In my spare time I like to draw, play video games, watch movies, listen to music and design clothing that I will never make. You probably can spot me in the hallway if you look for a chic in loud clothing and too much eyeliner, complaining about how she never gets enough sleep (despite the fact that she was up until 3 am). I look forward to working with all these lovely people and hope to be of as much help as I can! 

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