"Women are very much like sunflowers… the last stage is the most glorious
and then they quickly go to seed", paraphrasing John in Calendar Girls.
When a group of mature women set their minds on doing something daring, watch out – anything could happen!
"What… actually disrobe? Onstage? In Raanana? It'll never happen!" That was a frequent reaction, spoken or unspoken, to The Sharon Players' idea of presenting the stage version of the very successful film, Calendar Girls. Since none of the cast has actually decided to go in for a new career in stripping, the arts of suggestion and concealment are a major directorial challenge!
Although a main driving force in the play is the realization that "flesh sells", that's not at all what the play is about. Calendar Girls is based on true events involving a group of middle-aged women from Yorkshire who wanted to raise money for a charitable cause. The group is the local WI, or Women's Institute – England's equivalent of WIZO or Hadassah. The WI produces an annual calendar and donates the proceeds – usually quite meager – to a charity.
Annie has recently lost her husband to cancer. She and fellow members of the WI decide that they would like their chosen charity this year to be the hospital that treated Annie's husband; specifically, to replace the awful sofa in the visitor's room upon which they had spent many an uncomfortable hour. However, they realize that calendar scenes of local bridges or churchyards won't bring in the sales.
None of them are fashion model material, but they nonetheless band together and hatch a plan to create a calendar that will sell. Together with the clever ideas of their local amateur photographer, they devise poses representing ordinary WI activities, with a major difference. The person in the photograph is nude although the pose is devised with the utmost propriety. In the face of anxious resistance, shocked whispers and no small amount of self-doubt, the women go ahead with their plan … and their success is beyond their wildest dreams.
Inspired by their story, the Sharon Players plan to produce their own Program/Calendar with photography by Yohan Segev, (www.yohansegev.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). If sales go well, a charity of the group's choice will benefit.
Directed by Shani Shalgi, the play's cast members include Devorah Barenholtz, Jeanette Edry, Sue Field, Nachum Froumin, Linda Goldstein, Albert Levi, Robin Reiss, Yohan Segev, Linda Silverstone, Mimi Tanaman, Baruch Tanaman (ESRA's own Vice Chairperson) Frances Thaler and Sophie-Ann Winkler.
Performances: (Thurs., Sat., Sun.) June 20th, 22nd and 23rd.
Tickets available from the Sharon Players (052-5695035), the box office of HaMishkan LeOmanuyot Ra'anana (09-7464036), and through ESRA (09-7482957). For further information contact us at email@example.com, or visit us on FB.