The Walpole Footlighters are pleased to announce open auditions for Calendar Girls by Tim Firth, based on the Miramax motion picture by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth, on Tuesday, January 21 at 7:00 pm at the Footlighters Playhouse, 2 Scout Rd, East Walpole, MA. If you can’t make the auditions on January 21, please contact the director at firstname.lastname@example.org to make other arrangements. Callbacks, if needed, will be held Sunday, February 9 at 7:00 pm. The script calls for 10 women, apparent ages 20 to 70, and 4 men, apparent ages 20 to 50. The production will be directed by Marianne Phinney.
Performance dates are May 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17. Rehearsals will begin on February 11 and will be on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. This is a non-union production and there is no pay for actors.
Actors cast in the six leading roles must be willing to pose nude but will be concealed by a variety of props – cinnamon buns, flowers, balls of wool on knitting needles, and fruit. The audience will never see any “naughty bits.”
Auditions are by appointment and will consist of readings from the script. Sign up for a time slot at https://www.theaterforms.com/walpolefootlighters/calendargirls/auditionform/. Upload your resume and headshot when you sign up or bring copies to your audition.
When Annie’s husband John dies of leukemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow Women’s Institute members to pose nude with them for an “alternative” calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. The news of the women’s charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on their small village. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie’s friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame. Calendar Girls is based on a true story.
CHRIS - 50s. You want Chris at your party. She will talk to people she doesn’t know, find things to say to all silences and generate laughter. Part of this is because Chris is at home in crowds, holding court, being the centre of attention. Without Chris in her life, Annie would be better behaved, her life less fun. The two of them are like naughty schoolgirls. Poses for the nude calendar.
ANNIE - 50s. Annie will join in mischief but is at heart more conformist and less confrontational than Chris. After Chris has put a waiter’s back up in the restaurant, Annie will go in and pour calm. The mischievousness Chris elicits saves Annie from being a saint. She has enough edge to be interesting, and enough salt not to be too sweet. Poses for the nude calendar.
CORA - around 40. Cora’s past is the most eclectic, her horizons broadened by having gone to college. This caused a tectonic shift with her more parochial parents. She came back to them pregnant and tail-between-legs, but Cora has too much native resilience to be downtrodden. She is the joker in the pack, but never plays the fool. Her wit is deadpan. It raises laughter in others, but rarely in herself. Cora must be able to sing well enough to start the show with “Jerusalem” and sing the snatches of other songs required. If the actor can play basic chords on the piano, so much the better. Poses for the nude calendar.
JESSIE - late 60s/70s. Get on the right side of Jessie as a teacher and she’ll be the teacher you remember for life. Get on the wrong side and you will regret every waking hour. A lover of life, Jessie doesn’t bother with cosmetics — her elixir of life is bravery. Jessie goes on rollercoasters. Jessie bothers about grammar and will correct stallholders regarding their abuse of the apostrophe “s”. Poses for the nude calendar.
CELIA - age anything 35-50. The fact that Celia is in the WI is the greatest justification of its existence. A woman more at home in a department store than a church hall, she may be slightly younger than Chris or the same age, but she always feels like she’s drifted in from another world. Which she has. She is particularly enamoured of Jessie, and despite the fact Jessie has very little time for most Celias of this world, there is a rebelliousness in Celia to which Jessie responds. It’s what sets Celia apart from the vapid materialism of her peer group and made her defect. Poses for the nude calendar.
RUTH - 40s. Ruth’s journey is from the false self-confidence of the emotionally abused to the genuine self confidence of the woman happy in her own skin. Ruth is eager to please but not a rag doll, and despite being Marie’s right-hand woman she is desperate to be the cartilage in the spine of the WI and keep everyone happy. She has spine herself — if she was too wet, no-one would want her around. But they do, and they feel protective of her because they sense there is something better in Ruth than her life is letting out. They are proved right. Poses for the nude calendar.
MARIE - 50s. Marie has gradually built the current ‘Marie’ around herself over the years as a defence mechanism. She went to her Oz, Cheshire, and found Oz didn’t want her. She came back scorched. The WI is a trophy to her, which justifies her entire existence. There is a lingering part of Marie that would love to be on that calendar.
BRENDA HULSE – 40s - 60s. Brenda is a dull speaker who goes to various Women’s Institutes to give lectures, accompanied by slides, on topics like “The History of the Tea Towel.” Her topic this time is “Broccoli.” Brenda may be played by the same actor as Lady Cravenshire.
LADY CRAVENSHIRE - 60s. Lady Cravenshire really doesn’t mean to be so patronizing. But the WI girls seem from another world. The world of her estate workers. When she makes an entrance, she must make an entrance. She must glide in like a galleon.
ELAINE - 20s. Elaine really doesn’t mean to be so patronizing. But Jessie seems from another world. The world of her gran. Her clinical whites slice through like a knife. You feel you could cut yourself on that dress.
JOHN - 50s. John is a human sunflower. Not a saint. Not a hero. Just the kind of man you’d want in your car when crossing America. When he dies it feels like someone somewhere turned a light off.
ROD - Chris's husband, 50s. You have to be a certain kind of guy to stick with Chris and Rod loves it. He can give back what he gets, and has a deadpan humour which has always made Chris laugh. He drinks a lot but never so much as to have a problem. He would work every hour to make his shop a success. And John was his mate, even though the relationship was originally channelled through their wives.
LAWRENCE - late 20s. Hesitant without being nerdy, Lawrence is a shy young man with enough wit to make a joke and enough spirit to turn up at the WI hall in the first place. When he arranges the shots he is close to female nudity but sees only the photo. May be played by the same actor as Liam.
LIAM - late 20s. Liam would like to be directing other things than photoshoots for washing powders. He’s not so unprofessional as to let it show, but we can sense a slight weariness at having to deal with these women. There’s a resigned patience to his actions and each smile he makes we feel is professional. For Liam, this photoshoot is a job. And not the job he wanted.