MINTY: ‘Calendar Girls’ brings story of relationships to Surrey stage

Arts columnist plays part in popular British play, at Surrey Little Theatre starting Oct. 22

Melanie Minty

SURREY — The popular British play, movie and true story, “Calendar Girls,” opens on the Surrey Little Theatre stage next Thursday, Oct. 22.

The play, written by British playwright Tim Firth and directed by award-winning director Simon Challenger, runs until Nov. 21. Tickets are $15, with half-price tickets on Oct. 22 and 23. Show times are Thursdays to Saturdays at 8 p.m., with three Sunday matinees on Nov. 1, 8 and 15, starting at 2 p.m. For reservations, call 604-576-8451, email reservations@surreylittletheatre.com or go to Brownpapertickets.com. Visit Surreylittletheatre.com for more information.

Whew, that’s the facts, fast and furious. What you don’t see written is why you should go see this particular show.

“Calendar Girls” is a wonderful play about relationships,” Challenger said.

And the relationships happen both on stage and off. Rehearsals are organic by nature, and the director has a sensitive touch with his relationships with cast and crew. I know, and have seen it, as I have a very small part in this play. I love watching Simon work the six main leads through the script. The friendships shine through.

“‘Calendar Girls’ is a story about friendship, love, tragedy and the ability of the human spirit to transcend adversity,” Challenge explained. “It is a story about how events can shape and influence people’s lives in ways they never thought possible.

“Every actor in this cast has brought something special to their role,” he added.

And what these actors bring to each other is evident in the respect, courtesy and admiration that is shared when not on stage.

Honestly, I have never felt so much a part of any production. It’s a good feeling. Many have full-time jobs, including a veterinarian, school clerk, retired communications consultant and college recruiter.

Cast members travel from Pitt Meadows, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Surrey and Langley – diversity there again.

Who and what we are shapes our lives and in this play we get to see this “who” and “what” develop, both on stage and off.

Making friends, and discovering a bit more about yourself in the process, doesn’t just happen in theatrical rehearsals. It is just the venue that I pursue. People want to be creative, have confidence in their talents and maybe show off some flare that is part of them.

The Peace Arch Weavers and Spinners Guild exists to promote, encourage and improve the art of weaving and spinning, and to offer classes and demonstrations of these crafts to the community. “It doesn’t matter if English is not your first language.  We get past the language issues with our shared fibre connections,” says the guild’s Trish Matthews.

“You don’t need a unique skill and artistic talent to benefit from a guild, just a love for fibre,” she enthused. “If you have the interest, then there are lots of learning opportunities. For example, it could be the help of one member showing you a technique – say, spinning – and giving you the opportunity to try with your own hands.

“The fibre connections is what I see happening with a Japanese member.  She initially was shy, but her felting techniques were wonderful and we thrilled to find out more. You could really see that the fibre connections were there; we figured out how to communicate. It also helped with another member being Japanese and could help when we got stuck. She no longer is so shy and communicates with greater ease, and I believe she feels one of us now.”

Guild members come from different backgrounds and share past experiences as well as their craft. It is difficult to put in just a few words what the guild is and does. So, like going to see the play “Calendar Girls,” maybe you can also check out the guild’s Fibre Flare show and sale at Ocean Park Hall this weekend (Oct. 17 and 18). There will be hand-spun wool for sale – and this runs out fast, so try to get there by the 10 a.m. opening time – as well as wearable art, some pottery and jewelry and a silent auction. Admission is free. Can’t beat that.

Everyone has something unique and creative to offer, and we are all part of the fabric of life. Woven together are many stories, passions, talents, cultures and languages. It is a treasure to find a group or even just one person who understands and appreciates your special gift. It’s important.

melminty@telus.net

 

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