CBS woman promises Calendar Girls will be good theatre
By Mark Squibb/March 24, 2023
Michelle Lambert of Conception Bay South says the upcoming production of Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls by the St. John’s Players will elicit lots of laughs and a few tears from audience members.
Lambert plays Chris, a woman who, along with best friend Annie and nine other women, resolves to raise funds for leukaemia research by posing nude for a calendar.
“There aren’t necessarily a lot of plays written for women of an age,” said Lambert. “But the group of women that originally did this calendar, and the original cast, were all in their mid-forties to sixties. And that’s what drew me to the production. And when you read the script, there are a lot of great moments that each character has. I think it resonated with all of us… these are all older women who come into their own and do things that are a little unconventional for someone of their age, and I like that part of it.”
Lambert has been involved with St. John’s Players in the past, and says she auditioned for the after a number of folks told her she would be perfect for the part.
She said actors will appear topless onstage — although audience members won’t see any nudity.
“There’s no actual nudity — it’s all implied,” said Lambert. “We will be covered by various objects. It’s not like we’re going around completely naked.”
She said to perform for an audience — especially in a production like Calendar Girls— requires a certain amount of vulnerability.
“You have to be comfortable having all eyes on you,” said Lambert. “People are there to look at you, and listen to you, and watch you. I think some of the best actors are people who are not afraid to be vulnerable in front of other people, because most of the best shows are really about human nature.”
Due to the subject matter, which revolves around leukaemia, Lambert recommends the play for older teenagers and adults.
For folks who might want to try their hand at acting but are a bit hesitant to bare themselves before an audience (pardon the pun), Lambert recommends trying a free acting workshop offered by Theatre CBS.
“That’s a great place to start,” said Lambert. “I know the people running theses exercises and these workshops, and they are easy, and gentle, and there’s no pressure. It’s just fun. It’s a great way to dip your toe in and see if you’d like to go a little bit further.”
Another option would be to audition for a Theatre CBS ‘radio-play,’ such as the production of “A Christmas Carol” put off this past Christmas.
During a radio play, folks appear onstage, but read from a script, as if they were reading for radio. They have to remain in character through the production, but don’t need to bother with memorization or complicated stage directions.
She offered a final piece of advice for those on the fence about auditioning for the stage.
“Just go out and do it,” said Lambert. “It’s so much fun, it really is.”
Lambert said that even after countless productions and auditions, she still gets nervous at times, but loves the work.
You can catch Calendar Girls at the Barbara Barrett Theatre at the Arts and Culture Centre March 30-April 2.
The group will also be performing at the Gordon Pinsent Arts and Culture Centre in Grand Falls for the provincial drama festival in April.