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February 8 - 26, 2017
Starring Presila Quinby, Roy Von Rains, Jr., and Cynthia Rogan
Written by Tim Firth
Directed by Gwen Overland
Based on the popular 2003 Helen Mirren movie (which in turn was based on a true story), the plot is rather simple: After the death of her best friend's husband from cancer, spirited Yorkshire housewife Chris Harper hatches a scheme to raise money for a memorial to him. She encourages her friends to create a saucy calendar - using the middle-aged women of their village as nude models. The idea stuns the husbands and a wary young photographer. Gwen Overland directs this hilarious and touching play.
Tickets: $18 - $34
By Laurie Heuston
In the small English village of Knapeley in Yorkshire Dales, the local chapter of the Women's Institute has always done its part for charity. Each year, the ladies' fundraising calendar features such themes as Yorkshire's scenery, wildflowers, homegrown vegetables and other benign subjects.
But when Annie loses her husband, John, to cancer, she and her group of friends become determined to raise money for the town's hospital. The only way to raise more money than ever is to go further than anyone has imagined. So when this group of ordinary women hatch a plan to pose as nude models for the calendar, the idea stirs up a media sensation.
"Calendar Girls" previews Thursday, Feb. 9, opens Friday, Feb. 10, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 26, at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Tickets are $18 for the Feb. 9 preview. All other tickets are $27 or $34. Rush tickets are $18 and, if available, can be purchased one hour before curtain. Tickets can be purchased online at camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250. The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before performances.
Gwen Overland directs playwright Tim Firth's laugh-out-loud stage adaptation of the film starring Helen Mirren - a hilarious look at true events and a reminder that one is never too old to make a difference.
"A determined and well focused group of women can be dangerous for they can change the world," Overland says. "Of course, this is true of anyone, regardless of their gender. Women believe in and practice the power of community. Somehow they intuitively know that by admitting their own individual vulnerabilities, they grow that much stronger when met by like-minded women. They know that strength, not weakness, is the basis of community."
Roy Von Rains Jr. plays Annie's husband, who writes "The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire. The last stage of their growth is the most glorious," before he succumbs to leukemia in the first part of the play.
Cynthia Rogan plays Annie - Miss February, and Presila Quinby plays her friend, Chris - Miss October. Together, they 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, played by Nicholas Jules Hewitt.
"This is the experience of the ladies of Yorkshire," Overland says. "We watch them as they deal with their own individual unmet dreams and desires - each riding the trajectory of their own agenda - as they gradually meld to form a unified bouquet. This is the basic theme of the play - that we grow more radiant, more beautiful and more resilient when we work together as community."
Meagan Kirby plays Brenda, Lady Cravenshire and Elaine; Lyda Woods plays Celia (Miss September); Kathy Wing is Cora (Miss July); Karen Douglas is Jessie (Miss January); and Judith Rosen is Ruth (Miss November) in this slightly risque comedy.
Kira Herdklotz-Yasutake and David Eisenberg round out the cast as Marie, the disagreeable chairwoman of the Women's Institute, and Rod, Chris' husband.
Don Zastoupil is set designer and builder; Jenelle Ragsdale is lighting designer; Brian O'Connor is sound and video designer; Sharon Swingle is costume designer; and Olivia Harrison is properties master.
Playwright Firth, who co-wrote the 2003 film, translated it for stage in 2008. After a successful tryout at the Chichester Festival Theatre in September 2008 and a lengthy national tour, the play previewed in April 2009 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End.
- Presila Quinby ~ Chris
- Presila Quinby returned to the Rogue Valley from NYC, where she appeared on Broadway in Meet Me in St. Louis and The Secret Garden as well as many regional theater productions from Springfield, MA
to San Diego, CA. She has been appearing regularly as an actress/singer/dancer at Camelot since 2003 when she appeared in Zorba.
Quinby has been privileged to play many wonderful roles at Camelot, the Cabaret and Next Stage theatres, some of which are: Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, Mme. Thernadier in Les Miserables, Louise in Always, Patsy Cline, The Blondes in Gunmetal Blues, Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa and the eponymous Molly Sweeney.
- Roy Von Rains, Jr. ~ John
- As an actor, Roy Von Rains' past roles include Oscar in The Odd Couple at Next Stage Repertory, Zach in A Chorus Line at the Randall Theatre, and at Camelot Theatre: Amahr Reddy in Solomon's Blade, Derby in A Question of Words, Uncle Louie in Lost in Yonkers, Boolie in Driving Miss Daisy, Doctor Watson in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, Çassie in King of City Island and Willie Stark in All the King's Men. Film credits include The Tuskegee Airmen and Tushka, the Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy and Gravedigger's Song. Directing credits at Camelot include Inherit the Wind, I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road, The Best Man, The Sound of Music, Ug - the Caveman Musical, The Lion in Winter and The Manchurian Candidate.
- Cynthia Rogan ~ Annie
- Cynthia Rogan is a playwright, novelist and self-proclaimed doodle-ist. Last year, she wrote and directed her play, A Couple of Nuts, as part of Four Fun's Valentine's Day production Love, Lust and Chocolate Cake. She's written and performed her own solo pieces, Cat-a-tonic and Eve-volution, and her short works have been produced locally and as part of Seattle's Double XX Festival. After long days of accounting work followed by long nights of writing, she's finally completed her full-length play, Riding Shotgun. Back in 2010 her play, Pass, was part of a staged reading at Camelot. This is her first time on their stage.
'Calendar Girls' is fun and revealing
By Angela Decker
for the Mail Tribune
Women working together for a cause are unstoppable. This theme is playing out in the local and national news, and more lightly in Camelot Theatre's current production of "Calendar Girls."
"Calendar Girls" is the heartwarming and funny story of a close-knit group of older British women who decide to appear nude in a calendar to raise money for their local hospital.
The story, based on true events, was made into a popular 2003 film starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, and later into a play written by Tim Firth. Gwen Overland directs Camelot's talented cast, who turn a relatively thin story into two hours of cheeky fun.
In the play, Annie's husband, John, played with poignant cheer by Roy Von Rains Jr., is dying of leukemia. Annie (Cynthia Rogan) is warm and caring, and the couple gets a lot of emotional support from their friends in Annie's women's club. The most supportive, and liveliest, is Annie's best friend, Chris, played with energy and charm by Presila Quinby.
When John dies, the enterprising Chris hits upon the idea to raise enough funds to buy a nice settee for the hospital's visitors room. The problem is the club's traditional fundraising calendar, usually full of boring scenery, is hardly a top seller. Chris convinces her friends that the ladies should do something more eye-catching. Risking the ire of the stodgy Women's Institute leadership, she enlists the help of a young amateur photographer to arrange a nude photo shoot. The shoot and the calendar's unexpected success changes each woman in some way, some less subtly than others, and tests Chris and Annie's friendship.
Others characters include Kathy Wing as Cora, the church organist who is estranged from her grown daughter; the overly accommodating Ruth, played with charming goofiness by Judith Rosen; Jessie, played with no-nonsense snap by Karen Douglas, a retired schoolteacher who resents the way older women are often seen as boring, nonsexual beings; and Celia, played by Lyda Woods, a boozy, upper-class woman whose husband spends way too much time on the golf course.
Meagan Kirby, Kira Herdklotz-Yasutake, Nicholas Jules Hewitt and David Eisenberg round out the cast. Don Zastoupil's set, along with Jenelle Ragsdale's lighting effects and Brian O'Connor's sound and video, are simple yet effective.
There are plenty of amusing scenes in the play, but the giddy photo shoot is the highlight. It is a moment of bravery, both for the actresses and their characters, as they really do strip down for the camera. To keep things family-friendly, strategically placed, traditional ladies' club items such as baked goods, balls of yarn, and flowers help maintain a PG-rating and add to the comedy. One-by-one, each actress beams as she shucks her clothes, and the delighted Camelot audience cheers them on.
The show has a few slow spots, and some dialogue is muffled by strained attempts at British accents, but Overland's direction keeps the story moving along well enough. The real joy of Camelot's production is the strong chemistry between the performers, particularly Rogan and Quinby. The obvious good time the actors are all having is infectious. Although the play uses nudity to score laughs, it is really about friendship and how each woman blossoms after their bold project, proving that women are gorgeous and powerful at every stage of life.
"Calendar Girls" runs through Sunday, Feb. 26, at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Tickets are $27 or $34. Rush tickets are $18 and, if available, can be purchased one hour before curtain. Tickets can be purchased online at camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250. The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before performances.