Mar 052018
 
Calendar Girls
Auditions dates: Sunday 18th March and Thursday 22nd March
Character Descriptions:
Chris – female – 50’s – lead role
This character participates in the nude scene.
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.
Annie – female – 50’s – lead role
This character participates in the nude scene.
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.
Cora – female – around 40 – supporting lead role
This character participates in the nude scene.
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 a close
friendship.
Cora doesn’t need to sing like a diva but must be able to sing well enough to start the show
singing solo. She either needs to be able to play the piano, or be able to fake it!
Jessie – female – late 60’s/70’s – supporting lead role
This character participates in the nude scene.
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. 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”.
Celia – female – 35 to 50 – supporting lead role
This character participates in the nude scene.
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 that a lot of
the other members, 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.
Ruth – female – 40’s – supporting lead role
This character participates in the nude scene.
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.
Marie – female – 50’s – supporting role
Marie has gradually built the current ‘Marie’ around herself over the years as a defence
mechanism. She went to her Oz – Cheshire – and found her 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.
John – male – 50’s – supporting role
Annie’s husband. 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 – male – 50’s – supporting role
Chris’s husband. You have to be 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 job a success. And John was his mate, even though the relationship was
originally channelled through their wives.
Lady Cravenshire – female – 60’s – minor role
This role may be played by the same person who plays Brenda.
Lady Cravenshire doesn’t mean to be so patronizing. But the WI girls seem from another
world. The world of her estate workers.
Brenda – female – 60+ – minor role
This role may be played by the same person who plays Lady Cravenshire.
Loves giving talks on what others may find mundane, like the history of tea towels, or
broccoli.
Lawrence – male – late 20’s – minor role
This role may be played by the same person who plays Liam.
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.
Liam – male – late 20’s – minor role
This role may be played by the same person who plays Lawrence.
Liam would like to be directing other things than advertisements 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. For Liam, this advertisement is a job, and not the job he wanted.
Elaine – female – 20’s – minor role
Elaine is a beautician who doesn’t mean to be so patronising. However the women of the WI
seem to be from another world – the world of her gran.
SYNOPSIS
When Annie’s husband John dies of leukaemia, 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 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 opened at the Chichester Festival
Theatre and has since become the fastest selling play in British theatre history.
Cranbourne, Victoria
Vicki- 0422 096 768
BATS Theatre Company