ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Blackfriars Theatre is presenting “Calendar Girls” with performances from May 6-22 in Rochester.
The Director of “Calendar Girls” Alexa Scott-Flaherty discussed the origin of the story and what audiences can expect Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.
“Many of you may have seen the movie,” said Scott-Flaherty. “It is based on the movie as well as the real-life event of a group of women in Yorkshire who belong to the Women’s Institute.”
Every year the women hold a number of events such as gardening and raise money through the sale and proceeds from a calendar. “Usually, it features bridges or churches. One year, after the death of one of the member’s husbands from leukemia, they decided to try to raise money to buy a couch – a seat – for the sitting room because it was very uncomfortable to sit in the hospital night after night. They end up posing for an alternative calendar where they did everything they do at the W.I. – there are all sorts of activities like gardening and baking, and all sorts of things like that – except that they did it nude, although they carefully obscured their bodies with props and objects that they were working with. They ended up raising not just enough money for that couch but it took off all over the world. People were touched and moved and found it funny and they ended up raising enough money to support leukemia research as well as to build a whole wing in the hospital.”
Presenting “Calendar Girls” at Blackfriars created a unique challenge. “Our women are also posing nude for a calendar – also with carefully placed objects in front of them,” explained Scott-Flaherty. “But these brave women are not on film where you can carefully control just one view. They’re in a theatre with three sides. We have worked very hard to create very fun and funny poses while also taking care of sightlines in a thrust theatre – so they did an amazing job.”
The “Calendar Girls “cast includes Matthew Ames (Rod), Vicki Casarett (Marie), Rowan Collins (Lawrence/Liam), Nanette Elliott (Ruth), Pam Feicht (Chris), Mary Krickmire (Annie), Melanie McBride (Elaine), Talya Meyerowitz (Celia), Connie Neer (Lady Cravenshire/Brenda Hulse), David Runzo (John), Maria Scipione (Jessie), and Kimberly Upcraft (Cora).
Scott-Flaherty said that beyond the nudity challenges there is a lot for audiences to take in from this story.
“It’s a beautiful story. It’s funny and moving. It’s about the friendship of these women, about the loss that we experience in our lives – all kinds of loss, the death of her husband, changes in friendships and relationships. But it’s also a play with a very powerful message about finding yourself and knowing your own beauty as a woman as you age which is not something that we see all of the time. We live in a culture very focused on youth and this play asks us to look at women as they age and how beautiful, powerful, and strong they are.”
Come immerse yourself in the story of “Calendar Girls.” Get your tickets and more information now at (585) 454-1260 or online at Blackfriars.org.