All of the action of the play takes place solely in Truvy's beauty salon, which is part of her house. There are only six
characters (all female) that appear on stage. There is the voice of a DJ on the radio that is heard during the play. All the other
characters (like the male characters) that appear in the film version are only referred to in the dialog.
The action centers around Truvy's beauty parlor and some women who regularly gather there. The drama begins on the morning of
Shelby's wedding to Jackson and covers events over the next three years, including Shelby's decision to have a child despite having
Type 1 diabetes and the complications that result from the decision. We also get a glimpse of the unlikely friendship between
Clairee and Ouiser; Annelle's transformation from a shy, anxious newcomer in town, to a partying woman, then to a religious
fundamentalist; and Truvy's relationships with the men in her family. Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother, and
Shelby's medical battles, the underlying group-friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the drama.