I play M’Lynn Eatonton, Shelby’s mother. M’Lynn is a strong, determined woman driven to take care of people. Like many women, she puts her focus on helping and tending to the needs of others and often sacrifices her own needs. M’Lynn is always “fine,” even when her entire world crashes down around her. She wants to care for others and doesn’t know how to let people care for her. This is why Truvy’s Salon is so important. Once a week she lets someone else do for her in a modest way. She refills her cup from the well of energy of her friends and only allows herself to break down in the safety of their sanctuary.
What were some challenges working Steel Magnolias?
I played the role of M’Lynn once before a few years ago and it was really important to me to think of this as a clean slate and create a new character. I’m working with 5 different actresses who each bring unique attributes and talents to their characterization. The vision of a new director is different than the last so it would be ridiculous to try and revive my old M’Lynn and force that square peg into a round hole. I owe it to this cast to create a character that is part of THIS puzzle, not just a cheap rehash from the last. So I started fresh. I sat down with my script and am reworking my motivations and tactics. It’s a whole new character study.
What do you hope the audience takes away from this show?
Women need other women. We need to build each other up and be safe havens for one another.