Posts Tagged Salon Saturday

Calendar Girls: Featuring Anna Hickey

As part of our ongoing Meet the Cast of Calendar Girls Blog Series, let us introduce you to Anna Hickey:


ROLE:  Elaine, 20s


Elaine really doesn’t mean to be so patronizing.  But Jessie [see blog featuring Linda Kelsey] seems from another world.  The world of her gran.


Anna Hickey has a really fresh, sensual inhabitation of the character of Elaine.  She also had great chemistry with Shanan Custer [who plays Ruth].  Anna has good comedic instincts and the ability to create a character with depth, which is important since her character is not on stage long.


Elaine is not an especially likeable character.  What did you think of her, and how did that inform your role playing?

I wouldn’t describe Elaine’s character as “not likable.”  She’s actually very charming and genuinely wants to help women feel better about themselves.  To a different group of women, she’d be a hit.  Of course, to the characters in this play she is problematic, but that is only five minutes of Elaine’s life.  It’s important to look at the whole scope of the character and not just the snippet the audience gets to see.  What is her history with male and female relationships?  What are her wants, desires and dreams?  I believe all characters are more than the sum of what we see on stage, and to me, Elaine is a woman who is passionate about beauty treatments, who has high hopes for a make-up career in film, who is greatly comforted by positive attention from others, and who is oblivious to the way her actions affect people.  And that is so much more fun to play than simply being unlikable.


Park Square The School for Lies  Representative Theatre Hennepin Theatre Trust: The Realish Housewives of Edina; Walking Shadow Theatre Company: The Three Musketeers; Illusion Theater: My Antonia; Paul Bunyan Playhouse: Spamalot; Loudmouth Collective: A Bright New Boise; Bloomington Civic Theatre: Singin’ in the Rain  Training B.A., Theatre Arts, University of Minnesota; M.A., London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art  Other Freelance Choreographer and Teaching Artist with Stages Theatre Company


Calendar Girls: Featuring Karen Weber

As part of our ongoing Meet the Cast Calendar Girls Blog Series, let us introduce you to Karen Weber:


ROLE:  Lady Cravenshire, 60s; Brenda Hulse


Lady Cravenshire really doesn’t mean to be so patronizing.  But the WI girls seem from another world.  The world of her estate workers.

(Tim Firth does not describe Brenda Hulse in the script.  She is a dull guest speaker at the WI.)


Karen’s task in the play is to play two upper class characters very differently:  Brenda and Lady Cravenshire, and I wanted someone who could play each as a real person.  Karen possesses a strong upper class bearing; she can play that and is also a director so has lots of ideas to differentiate the two characters.  She is an actor with a clear vision about their differences.  She understands her own context and how to conduct herself.


Brenda Hulse and Lady Cravenshire both come from uppercrust, high society.  How did you consciously differentiate the two?

I think the thing that Brenda and Lady Cravenshire have in common is that they are not originally from this tiny little dale.  They are both highly educated women and come from a higher income bracket than the women of Knapely.  As such, they speak with a very proper dialect, project a sense of superiority and are automatically afforded social deference as class differences are more noted in British society.

How that superiority is played, really, is the essential difference in the way I approached these two characters.

Brenda is something of a self-proclaimed, self-made Academic–an essentially insecure woman whose life has a singular focus and insular scope, and her self-esteem revolves around her rank in the national WI organization.  She displays superiority over the women of Knapely with her judgmental approach and thinly veiled condescension.  In her case, “High Class” doesn’t mean she HAS class.

Lady Cravenshire, on the other hand, is far more confident in her rank and right.  She is the only one who is “to the manor born,” and this allows her to come from a place of appreciation and graciousness with the women of Knapely.  Where Brenda finds Chris’ actions grating, Lady Cravenshire finds Chris’ actions creative and worth congratulating.

Together they help to round out the world of the play and point up the social obstacles that the women of Knapely face in choosing to do this calendar.


Park Square Communicating Doors, Becky’s New Car  Representative Theatre Ordway: A Little Night Music; History Theatre: Hiding in the Open, The Grand Excursion, Fireball; Bloomington Civic Theatre: Follies, A Light in the Piazza, Master Class; Theater Latte Da: A Christmas Carol Peterson, Burning Patience; Minneapolis Music Theatre: Bat Boy the Musical, Chess; Plymouth Playhouse: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Illusion Theater: Autistic License


Let’s Talk About It!

Whenever I book theatre tickets, I tend to aim for a date when some form of post-show discussion will occur.  I love the opportunity to gain more insight from those involved in the play as well as audience members.  These discussions are also wonderful because we get to talk, not only on a variety of topics, but also face-to-face.

As an usher for student groups during the school year, I have also seen firsthand how post-show discussions give the scholars that extra bit of understanding or chance to satiate their curiosity.  I have seen how cast members light up in their interactions with students, eager and honored to learn from each other.

For audience members of any age, these post-show dialogues make our experience at the theatre just that much more meaningful.  Park Square Theatre knows this and has been offering an unprecedented number of opportunities to connect with each other after seeing Calendar Girls.  A few cast Q&As have already occurred, including one with Twin Cities theatre bloggers, but still to come are two more events not to miss:

Jamil Jude

Jamil Jude


Musing: Saturday, July 9, after the 2 pm show

You are invited to gather with fellow audience members for an open discussion about Calendar Girls.  Artistic Programming Assistant Jamil Jude will be your host in a conversation that will focus on the importance of seeing a diversity of women on stage.


Salon: Saturday, July 16, after the 2 pm show

After the Saturday matinee join community leaders and experts to discuss how women are portrayed onstage and the effects of seeing so many powerful roles played by women. You choose where the discussion leads! Moderated by Alicia Wiesneth.

Come and sit down.  Talk much.  Listen.  Learn.  Laugh.  Enjoy!


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