To commemorate International Women’s History Month, the U.S. Embassy Warsaw held a pair of staged readings of Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling on March 29th, 2017, at Teatr Polski Arnold Szyfman Theatre in its original language, English. The performance consisted of an all-female cast of Embassy employees, Poles and Americans, some of whom are theater veterans and others who made their on stage debuts.
During Women’s History Month, we pause to pay tribute to the remarkable women who prevailed over enormous barriers, paving the way for women of today to not only participate in but to lead and shape every facet modern life. Steel Magnolias depicts the power of the bonds of female friendship to withstand a tragedy. It is one of the United States’ most popular modern American dramas, and was made into an award-winning film.
Poland’s highly acclaimed actor and director Andrzej Seweryn was a VIP guest and addressed the audience and cast before the show, calling the staged reading “a great initiative.” The Embassy’s Deputy Press Attaché, Stephen E. Dreikorn, selected the play and directed the production. “Steel Magnolias is truly a fine piece of modern American drama, and it shows the strength and resolve of women. It also depicts how women help each other to overcome tragedy, which is always an important message, especially during Women’s History Month,” Dreikorn said.
U.S. Embassy Minister Counselor John Law, who introduced the afternoon performance, highlighted Embassy activities marking Women’s History Month, including sponsoring the recent Polish premier of the U.S. film Hidden Figures, the Vital Voices 6th Annual Mentoring Walk, and launching a web portal and hashtag about #PolishPowerWomen, featuring seven modern Polish women who are making a big difference in the world today. Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs Christopher Midura explained before the evening show, “The title of the play suggests the female characters appear to be as delicate as magnolia flowers, but in reality they are as tough as steel. We were happy to make the production a reality and a capstone to our Women’s History Month programming.”
After the show, Katie Koehler, who played the key role of Shelby, said, “I am so happy I was cast in this play. It is one of my favorite shows and its message for Women’s History Month is both poignant and touching. Steel Magnolias is relatable to everyone.”
The staged reading was produced by the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section with the cooperation of the American Center Warsaw, the U.S. Embassy’s Federal Women’s Program, and the Department of Culture, Promotion, and Tourism of Mazowieckie Voivodship. This amateur production of Steel Magnolias was presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.
If you would like more information about the play, the cast, and the crew you can access an electronic copy of the show’s program here [PDF].