As part of our ongoing Meet the Cast of Calendar Girls Blog Series, let us introduce you to Julia Cook:
ROLE: Marie, 50s
AS DESCRIBED IN PLAYWRIGHT TIM FIRTH’S SCRIPT:
Marie has gradually built the current ‘Marie’ around herself over the years as a defense mechanism. She went to her Oz, Cheshire, and found Oz didn’t want her. She came back scorched. The WI is a trophy to her, which justifies her entire existence. There is a lingering part of Marie that would love to be on that calendar. Ideal car—something German and well-valeted. Ideal holiday—a quasi-academic tour of somewhere in Persia advertised in a Sunday Supplement which she could then interminably bang on about.
DIRECTOR MARY FINNERTY’S COMMENT:
Julia is great with dialects and playing high status. I really liked the humanity I saw in Marie as Julia read in auditions.
QUESTION FOR JULIA:
Marie could have easily become a caricature but gets more fleshed out as the play progresses. Can you comment on the challenge of gradually bringing down her armor and letting us see her vulnerability?
Marie, in many ways, is the antagonist in this piece. She is the presence that the other girls rebel against, especially Chris. And you are right; it would have been easy to make Marie a villain or at the very least a complete buzz-kill! But nobody in real life is ever only just ONE thing–not if they are a fully fleshed out human being. There is a very good reason why Marie is the way that she is. It comes from pain and a scandal left behind; it comes from a need to make this women’s group the absolute best that it can be. She desperately loves the WI and what it stands for! And you would be frustrated, too, if members of your organization volunteered, promised to be there, to follow through, and then dropped the ball continuously. It would be maddening, right?! Especially if you are the kind of person who always does exactly what you say you will do and would never dream of flaking on that.
I am glad that Tim Firth wrote a scene for Marie where you get a glimpse of her past and the sadness that she has experienced. You also get a glimpse of the tricky history that she has with Chris…and the ouch of never being invited to hang out with the cool kids. As an actor, a role like this can be challenging but ultimately rewarding as one finds all the dimensions of a potentially “unlikable” character!
Park Square Debut
Representative Theatre Old Log Theater: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Theater Latte Da: NEXT: New Musicals in the Making; North American Tour: Mamma Mia!; Asian Tour: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (starring Lea Salonga); New York Fringe Festival; St. Luke’s Theatre; Metropolitan Playhouse; Asolo Rep
Training B.F.A., Acting, University of Texas, Austin; M.F.A., Acting, Asolo Conservatory/Florida State University
THERE IS A POST-SHOW Q&A WITH CAST ON SUNDAY, JULY 3.
HERE’S A CHANCE TO ASK YOUR OWN QUESTIONS!