Mark Your Calendars for DHT’s "Calendar Girls"
Diamond Head Theatre’s once-a-season annual play has been mounted, and it is anything but, shall we say, bare? Known as Calendar Girls, the play, based on the Golden Globe-nominated 2003 film of the same name, follows a society of women whose Women’s Institute chapter’s fundraising effort for a local hospital goes, as one would say in today’s society, “viral” once they decide to bare all for a calendar.
What stands out most is the overall simplicity of the production. The set remains very minimal, the costumes are modest yet appealing, and the cast---the oh-so charming cast---is small but effective. Led by DHT newcomers Betty Bolton, Susan Hawes, and Colleen Roger Parlee as well as veterans Liz Stone, Holly Holowach, and Lisa Konove, their stalwart efforts to tell the story of female bonds and empowerment can’t come at a more necessary time in relation to that of the resurgence of female voice in society. Collectively, they perform so well to portray a plot that, in act 1, is pure comedy, while in act 2, it transitions dramatically. Superb staging accompanied by bravery of the leading ladies produce a ten-minute sequence of the actual photo shoot for the calendar, in which the actresses bare all, but are carefully covered up at the upper and nether. Their facial expressions, bodily movements, and tense idiosyncrasies hands down create pure comedic gold. In the second act, however, the true colors of their selves and friendships begin to unravel, becoming a story about the bonds of sisterhood and friendship.
In addition to the powerhouse cast, the direction by frequent DHT actress and collaborator Ahnya Chang is deft and poignant. Being that there are many tonal shifts in plot, she finds the essential mood within each scene that seamlessly carries the play along. Her third directorial outing following 2015’s To Kill a Mockingbird and 2016’s Camelot, Chang is proving herself to be an indispensable staple of the Broadway of the Pacific.
Overall, DHT’s Calendar Girls is a pure delight. From the compelling performances by the troupe of brave women, to the poignant themes, to Chang’s skilled direction, the show is a nice addition to the theatre’s canon.