A very touching tale
STRATEGICALLY-placed cakes, knitting and ﬂowers are the only things protecting the modesty of the Manx cast of Calendar Girls, which started its run at the Gaiety Theatre yesterday (Wednesday).
Taken on by the island’s In Yer Space production company, the comical play sees a group of extraordinary WI women persuade one another to pose for a nude charity calendar.
Adapted for the stage by Tim Firth from the Miramax ﬁlm of the same name, it is based on an uplifting and very inspiring true story. Here, the play is being produced by Carl Parker and directed by Colin Snell.
‘I’m told by the cast that taking their clothes off has been surprisingly liberating,’ said Colin, ‘But from a director’s perspective, the comedy is more than just that scene. It’s an inspirational tale centred around an inspirational group of women. Their story needs to be told and the subject matter will touch everyone. Everyone will know of someone who will have been the victim of cancer.
‘And it’s important, for me, to get the balance right between Firth’s very funny script, the drama in the play and the poignancy which is at the heart of the piece. There are so many hilarious moments and equally touching ones.’
Actress Stephanie Gray added: ‘The past few months have been quite a revelation. Mention I’m involved in Calendar Girls and I get stunned silence and a raised eyebrow of disapproval or raucous laughter.
‘But whilst baring all for the photos is central to the story, it isn’t what defines the play.
‘What is so special is that it is a very human story. It is about personal courage, regrets, revelations about unfulfilled dreams and hitherto undisclosed secrets of the past. Put simply, it is about real people and events. It goes without saying that rehearsals have been unforgettable.
‘Get a bunch of women together and you have a recipe for mayhem – the hour spent ensuring the theoretical Christmas decorations were suitably placed to cover our pudenda was a tad fraught!’
When asked why she got involved in the play, Stephanie explained: ‘When the film Calendar Girls was premiered in New Zealand, my big sister managed to get to the first showing in her local cinema as a fundraising event for a breast cancer charity.
‘She loved the film, she adored sunflowers, and she would laugh herself to the point of crying to see her little sister on stage in the nude.’
Stephanie’s sister Michele Taggart died of cancer in 2005.
The In Yer Space calendar (£8) will raise money for Macmillan, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Hospice Isle of Man and Manx Cancer Help.
The show continues nightly at 7.30pm until Saturday, when a 2pm matinee show will also be presented, with captioning equipment for the hard of hearing.
Tickets cost £16.50. Call 600555.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 32 mph
Wind direction: North west