First off, there’s nothing off in the Waco Civic Theatre’s “Calendar Girls,” although there’s a bit of suggestion and some winking when it comes to the calendar shoot in the altogether.
“There’s absolutely no nudity in this show, but there’s the suggestion of it,” said director Eric Shephard. “It’s a delicate dance, but a fun dance. It feels risque, but it isn’t, really.”
Adapted from the 2003 English movie, Tim Firth’s “Calendar Girls” follows Annie (Wendy Strait) and Chris (Laura Meier-Marx) as they work their way through the grief of Annie’s husband John’s death due to leukemia. Grief mixes with humor, anxiety and solidarity when they decide to enlist friends Cora (Kami Yasko), Jessie (Glenda Hopper), Ruth (Tredessa Thomas) and Celia (Krystal Spring Marshall) in a fundraising venture: a calendar featuring them in the buff for a good cause.
In Knapely village, that raises both eyebrows and conversations that test some of the friendships. It’s the friendship part that’s the heart of “Calendar Girls,” noted Shephard, who compares its tone and humor to the recent WCT production of “Steel Magnolias.”
Shephard said Firth’s adaptation expands the film and develops its characters to a greater extent, aided by the natural camaraderie that developed in his cast. “This is a story of female friendship, of a coming-of-age emotionally and a grieving process. There are some really touching moments,” he said.
And, of course, the laughs from the nudity that’s not there, really.
The play features a regular Saturday matinee added to this season’s production runs. Shephard said the theater had added a Saturday matinee to several of last year’s shows to handle ticket demand and board members decided to make them a standard feature this year.