A Comedy by Tim Firth
- Director: Ken Ferguson
- Dialect Coach: Sean Crisden
- Movement Coach: Savannah Grottenthaler
- Production Assistants: Kari Davis & Stacey Seaman
Audition Dates: Tuesday 8/27 & Wednesday 8/28, 2019 at 6:30 PM
Callbacks: Wednesday 8/28 @ 7:30pm
When Annie’s husband John dies of leukaemia, she and best friend Chris decide to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow WI 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 the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie’s friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame.
Based on the true story of eleven WI members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund, Calendar Girls is the fastest selling play in British theatre history.
- Rehearsal begin on Tuesday, September 3rd
- October 25th & 26th @7pm
- October 27th @ 3pm
Central Arizona College
8470 N Overfield Rd
Coolidge, AZ, 851282
- Prepare: All auditions will consist of cold reads from the script.
- British accents are a plus
Chris* – 40s – 60s (Medium-Large part + 330 lines)
You want Chris at your party. She will talk to people she doesn’t know, find things to say to fill 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. Ideal car – who cares, as long as it’s a cabriolet. Ideal holiday – Algarve.
Annie* – 40s – 60s (Medium part + 230 lines)
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. Ideal car – who cares, as long as it’s reliable. Ideal holiday – walking in English countryside.
Together these two are greater than the sum of their parts. They would be lesser humans had they not met each other. Each is spiritual mustard to the other’s meat.
Cora* – 20s–40s (Medium part + 200 lines)
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. Her relationship with her daughter is more akin to that between Chris and Annie. Cora doesn’t need to sing like a diva but must be able to sing well enough to start the show with Jerusalem and sing the snatches of other songs required. The piano keyboard can be marked up to enable her to play basic chords should she not be a player. Ideal car – who cares, as long as the sound system is loud. Ideal holiday – New York.
Jessie* – late 60s-70s (Small-Medium part + 150 lines)
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 roller-coasters. Her husband has been with her a long time and is rarely surprised by her actions. Jessie bothers about grammar and will correct stallholders regarding their abuse of the apostrophe “s”. Ideal car – strange-looking European thing which is no longer manufactured. Ideal holiday – walking in Switzerland or Angkor Wat.
Celia* – 18-40 (Small-Medium part + 160 lines)
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. Ideal car – Porsche, which she has. Ideal holiday – Maldives, where she often goes.
Ruth* – mid-30s–late 40s (Small-Medium part + 160 lines)
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. Ideal car – at the start, whatever Eddie wants; at the end, whatever she wants. Ideal holiday – at the start wherever Eddie is, at the end wherever he isn’t.
Marie – 40s–60s (Small-Medium part + 150 lines)
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. Ideal car – something German and well-valeted. Ideal holiday – a quasi-academic tour of somewhere in Persia advertised in a Sunday Supplement which she could then interminably bang on about
John (Annie’s husband) – 30s-60s (Small part + 60 lines)
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) – 30s-60s (Small part + 40 lines)
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 that 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 – 18+ (Small part + 60 lines)
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.
Lady Cravenshire – 50s – 80s (Cameo + 15 lines)
Lady Cravenshire really doesn’t mean to be so patronising. But the WI girls seem from another world. The world of her estate workers. Dress: when she makes an entrance, she must make an entrance. Largely white or cream to outplay the others, with a bigger hat than Marie. She is not a tweed-wearer. She must glide in like a galleon.
Elaine – 18+ (Cameo + 20 lines)
Elaine really doesn’t mean to be so patronising. But Jessie seems from another world. The world of her gran.
Liam – 18+(Cameo + 30 lines)
Liam would like to be directing other things than photo-shoots 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 photo-shoot is a job. And not the job he wanted.
Brenda Hulsey – 30s to 70s (Cameo + 20 lines)
A small cameo comedy role. A visiting speaker to the WI who is less than inspiring on the subject of broccoli. She is a naive lady who knits her own clothes, votes for the Green Party & loves all country pursuits. Very gushing about a rival WI.
*Characters who take part in the calendar photo shoot within the play. The action of this sequence is choreographed so that their modesty is preserved but actresses considering auditioning for these roles should bear this in mind.
A NOTE ON NUDITY
Contrary to belief, there is no nudity directly on show to the audience. As the playwright, Tim Firth says, “As in the best tradition of Vaudevillian fan dances, the art of the play’s nudity lies in what is withheld. The choreography of this sequence is best described as ‘fabulous concealment’. Should we see anything we oughtn’t, the whole scene will deflate like a soufflé on which the oven door has been opened too quickly. “
All actors will be coached to perform with a British accent. `
Please contact Ken Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org