“It’s always a scavenger hunt,” said Jane Huppert who has been finding props, costumes and set pieces for the Drama Workshop for at least 10 years.
But even Huppert, the behind-the scenes queen, acknowledges that this week- end’s production of Steel Magnolias has presented more challenges than usual. Creating an almost-functioning beauty shop on stage is no easy job.
But, fortunately, she’s had some great help. Ruth Taylor and Leslie McLaughlin, as well as Huppert, have begged, borrowed and dumpster dove to find what they need to create Truvy’s Hair Salon on stage at the Opera House.
“The first place I go to look is my own barn,” Huppert said. “I never throw anything out, because you never know when it might come in handy for a show.”
That’s where she found the bolt of floral fabric that looks like it came straight from the Greenbrier. Victoria Wright donated it to the Drama Workshop back in 1986. Huppert remembered it, dug it out, and used it to make the fancy balloon window treatment for Truvy’s Shop.
The green salon chair, complete with hair dryer, has its own story. Margaret Baker, director of the Drama Workshop, spied it one day at the Green Boxes on Caesar Mountain. She and her husband loaded it in their truck and put in on Andrew Must’s porch as a joke. He hauled it off to his shed, but when the Drama Workshop decided to do Steel Magnolias, Margaret remembered.
The mirrors, that had to be sprayed to make sure they didn’t create a glare in the stage lights, also came from the dumpsters on Caesar Mountain.
McLaughlin turned to her friends, Cheryl and Whitney Beverage, to make the biggest finds in the beauty salon fixtures department. Their shop was closed, and they were glad to loan her the sink, hair and nail stations they had in storage to give Truvy’s that authentic beauty parlor look.
Cast member Allie Callison brought in items from her shop while Taylor kept her eyes open at the Hillsboro Clothes Closet for 1980s costume and props, snatching up all those old shoulder-padded suits and dresses. It was there that she found some great decorations for the Christmas tree, only to discover that McLaughlin had donated them.
Then on Sunday, May 5, with the help of volunteers, Al Huppert, Lisa Thompson, Susan Chappell and Lisa McLaughlin, the set all came together.
Flats were built, furniture arranged and rearranged, walls papered and painted, curtains and doors hung and pretty much in that one day Truvy’s Salon came to life on the stage of the Opera House.
Though Truvy’s won’t be taking appointments any time soon, you can get a good look at their handiwork this weekend.
Steel Magnolias will be presented by the Pocahontas Drama Workshop at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 17, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton.
Tickets cost $10 and will be available at the door.