As part of our ongoing Meet the Cast of Calendar Girls Blog Series, let us introduce you to Linda Kelsey:
ROLE: Jessie, late 60s/70s
AS DESCRIBED IN PLAYWRIGHT TIM FIRTH’S SCRIPT:
Get on the right side of Jessie as a teacher and she’ll be the teacher you remember for life. Get on the wrong side and you will regret every waking hour. A lover of life, Jessie doesn’t bother with cosmetics—her elixir of life is bravery. Jessie goes on rollercoasters. Her husband has been with her a long time and is rarely surprised by her actions. Jessie bothers about grammar and will correct stallholders regarding their abuse of the apostrophe “s”. Ideal car—strange-looking European thing which is no longer manufactured. Ideal holiday—walking in Switzerland or Angkor Wat.
DIRECTOR MARY FINNERTY’S COMMENT:
I have worked with Linda in two other productions and love working with her. In auditions she drew such a deep and funny interpretation of Jessie, who is a former teacher. I knew she had the acting chops and sense of comedy which would give both aspects of the character of teacher and girlfriend in the room.
QUESTION FOR LINDA:
Jessie is opinionated and quick to make up her mind. I love the “a woman of your age” speech that she delivers. What did you draw from yourself to play her versus what had to be learned through Jessie?
Well, you don’t have to spend much time in Hollywood, as I did for 25 years, to see ageism at its worst. I have a great well to draw from in that regard. It takes courage and gratitude to face aging as a woman in this culture. I don’t share this often, but my sister Judy died at the age of 49. When I turned 50 I felt an overwhelming gratitude, realizing that some, like my sister, would never have the experiences that I am now having as a mother of adult children and a grandmother. There is so much life to be experienced at any age, and I have been on a bit of my own crusade to make sure that women past the age of 40 are recognized, appreciated, and given opportunities to expand their horizons. I love that I can speak these thoughts through Jessie’s words, especially when she says, “I have never had a problem with age, my dear. Age has only every had a problem with me.”
Park Square The Other Place, 4000 Miles, Mary T. and Lizzy K., Doubt, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Frozen, The Belle of Amherst Representative Theatre Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; Guthrie Theatre: The Tempest, When We Are Married; Torch Theater: Dangerous Liaisons; Mixed Blood Theatre: Agnes Under the Big Top TV/Film (series regular) Lou Grant, Sessions (HBO), Day by Day; (mini-series) Eleanor and Franklin; guest starring) MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones Training B.A. and McKnight Fellowship in Acting, University of Minnesota Awards/Other Five Emmy Nominations: Lou Grant; Two Golden Globe Nominations: Lou Grant; Cable Ace nomination: Sessions