Calendar Girls: What I Learned

Back in January and through the first two weekends of February, I worked with a nearby theatre as a dresser. When I interned for The Music Man last summer, I worked with a lot of costumes and organized a lot of stuff, and I assumed that would help me with this next step. I wasn’t totally wrong, but I definitely wasn’t right. Instead of ironing and sorting costumes, I was assigned to an actress and put in charge of her quick changes. This easily brings us to the first thing I learned during this show:

1. Quick changes are terrifying.
Before Calendar Girls, I had never had to do a quick change for myself, nevertheless for someone else. Let me tell you, I have never hated buttons more than I did during the last four weeks. Still, I learned how to stay calm under pressure. I learned how to communicate efficiently without using words. Above all, I learned how to do a quick change without panicking.

2. Theatre people make my heart happy.
Throughout the show, I had multiple conversations with the other dressers. Some were silly, but some were deep and genuinely made me think. Everyone I talked to was lovely, and I didn’t have a single day where I left feeling awful. I know this isn’t what happens with every show, but in general theatre people just make me very happy. In every theatre and drama department I have worked with, I have found kind people who make me a better person.

3. There’s no age limit for creativity.
The cast of Calendar Girls was made up of people from various age groups. The actress I worked with directly was probably my grandmother’s age, and she’s been acting for forever. Everyone in the cast was insanely talented, and I feel very lucky to have been able to spend time with them all. In working with them, I was reminded that creativity has no age limit. You can be funny, talented, and creative at any age, and if this show was any indicator, you only get better with age.

4. Theatre is my church.
This is something I’m going to talk more about later, but while working with the Little Theatre, I discovered that the uplifting, courageous, and often meditative atmosphere is everything I’ve been looking for in a church but haven’t been able to find. I have always wanted church to be a place where people feel acknowledged and accepted, and for it to be a safe place where anyone can express themselves. While working with Calendar Girls, I realized that that is what theatre is. During breaks between quick changes, I often found myself praying. It started off as contemplating my day and what I would go back to after leaving the theatre, and it evolved into praying for wisdom. Theatre is my safe place, and over the last few weeks it has become my church.

I absolutely loved my time with the Little Theatre and with Calendar Girls. I learned more in the four weeks than I thought I would, and most of what I learned cannot be put into words. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity I had, and I hope this wasn’t my last time working with this theatre and with these people. To my fellow dressers, thank you for all the memories- you are already dearly missed.