Ayala Theater’s “Steel Magnolias” is another success for the Ayala theater company


Mrs. Sherratt

Ayala Theater Company poses with Ryan McCartan Samantha Fekete

Elaine Kuang

The Ayala Theater Company has put on their second show of the year with the classic play, Steel Magnolias on February 16-18th. The performance, which took place at the school’s multipurpose room (MPR), drew a large crowd of parents, students, and even two celebrity guests, Ryan McCartan and Samantha Fekete, who came to the show Saturday afternoon.

The play focuses on six women who are neighbors living in a small but chaotic town in Northwest Louisiana. The audience learns about their lives and relationships as they gather at Truvy’s hair salon to share their stories. Each with their unique personality, background, and experiences, the characters take the salon as their refuge through the ups and downs of life as they come together to give their support for one another. 

The cast did an exceptional job of bringing the play to life. Each actor demonstrated skills that far exceeded the audience’s expectations and displayed the vast expanse of their capabilities. For instance, Alyssa Cerezo (12), who played Shelby, a beautiful bride-to-be but with a chronic disease, captured her character’s rebellious spirit, determination, and vulnerability with an authentic charisma that was incredibly engaging.

“It was amazing to be able to play a character that everyone can just love and adore. She has a lot of love for the people around her and she makes an effort to show it,” said Cerezo. 

Milan Bonilla (12) played the role of Truvy, the hairdresser who ran the salon. As only her second main stage performance, Bonilla once again showed her theatrical talent with her outstanding acting and stage presence. 

“I love Truvy’s sassy and sweet nature. She’s witty and confident, but above all she’s full of love and really cares about every other character, and I really admire that,” said Bonilla.

As a confidant for all the characters in the play, Bonilla portrayed the character’s witty sense of humor, enthusiasm, and her strong compassion for her friends with a level of expertise far beyond her years.

“I watched a ton of Dolly Parton content to get ideas of how I would play the character,” said Bonilla, “the directors would [also] have the cast do exercises like answering questions, reacting to situations, or even hugging another person in character, which really helped [us] feel more connected to [our] characters.”

Not only were the costumes and set designs of the show incredibly impressive, the character’s hair and makeup was also one of the main spotlights of the show that created the iconic southern look in the 1980s. 

“All the [characters]  personalities were in their eyeshadow,” said the makeup artist Debanhy Flores (10).

What was even more impressive is that this show was almost entirely student-produced. The student crew designed, built, painted, and decorated the sets, worked the lighting and sounds, and scheduled countless rehearsals with the casts. To think that such an amazing production was brought forth by the drama department in just one month is just totally mind-blowing.

“The crew did incredible with the set and design, especially since Mrs. Sherratt (theater director) gave us almost free reign over the design. The set turned out really well considering that it was a lot of our first time building anything,” said Stage Manager Devi Bhatt (10).

It was also due to the palpable bond between the actors that left the audience in tears as the performance came to its ending. When tragedy struck one of the characters, the others immediately came together to provide their support and encouragement through her grief and adversity.

“[Shelby] has really inspired me to live. I think we can all use a little of that gratitude for others,” Cerezo says.

Together, with the cast’s touching performance and passion, Steel Magnolias delivered the message that despite not being connected by blood, the love and relationship good friends share can be one’s second home. By virtue of their indestructible loyalty and commitment for one another, their days always seem to be filled with warmth, laughter, and good-natured teasing even through moments of intense emotional pain.

The production of Steel Magnolias by Ayala Theater Company was in no doubt a resounding success. As Mrs. Sherratt’s second main stage performance directing, she has once again showed us the incredible talents of Ayala High School’s young actors with this heartwarming and wonderful play.

“This show was very fun and everyone did a great job,” says first-time Student Director Michaela Allen (10).