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Compleat Female Stage Beauty

Compleat Female Stage Beauty
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Jeffrey Hatcher
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 81
Pub. Date: 2006
ISBN-10: 0822221497
ISBN-13: 9780822221494
Cast Size: 5 women, 9 men

About the Play:

Compleat Female Stage Beauty is a full-length comedic drama by Jeffrey Hatcher. What do you do when your world falls apart? How far will you go to get back your friends, your audience, your lover, your royal favour? And who will you become in the process? The true story of the end of an era in the English Theater when women were finally allowed to perform as actresses on the public stage and the devastating effect it had on one man who had spent his life perfecting the compleat female persona.

Compleat Female Stage Beauty is the true story of two performers whose careers were changed forever by a shift in gender roles on the British stage. In 1661 the most renowned "leading lady" on the London stage was a performer named "Kynaston." Like every other player permitted to enact such roles, Edward Kynaston was a man. A celebrity artist shining bright at the crest of the Restoration, Ned or Mr. K, as he's called, is applauded onstage and off for his interpretations of Shakespeare's tragic ladies: Ophelia, Cleopatra, especially his Desdemona and his famous "death scene." He's the toast of the town and the very secret "mistress" of the powerful Duke of Buckingham. But when an unknown named Margaret Hughes plays Desdemona one night at an illegal theater, instead of stopping the show, the ever-game King Charles II changes the law to allow women to act. By the stroke of a pen, Kynaston discovers his world is turned upside-down. He loses his cachet, his livelihood, his lover and his sense of self. And as such women as the king's own courtesan, Nell Gwynn, and Kynaston's former dresser, Maria, become stars, his own fame begins to fade until fate and his desire for revenge give him a chance to take the stage again – and reap his revenge. Based on entries from the famed diary of Samuel Pepys, Jeffrey Hatcher provides a script that is both hilarious and heart breaking, which addresses issues such as loss of jobs, gender fluidity and identity confusion. It asks the question; to what extent is one defined by one's profession?

Compleat Female Stage Beauty premiered in 1999 at Shepherd College during the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Since then the play had regional premieres at professional theatres across the US and has been mounted by high schools, colleges, and community theatres.

Cast: 5 women, 9 men

What people say:

"A clever exploration of rich territory, the world of the English theater at the seventeenth-century moment when women were first allowed on the stage." — New York Times

"Lush … world class … clever…." — Variety

"An intimate psycho-sexual backstage historical comedy. Splendidly theatrical, it's a witty allusive game with some feeling payoff, to boot." — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

About the Playwright:

Jeffrey Hatcher is an award-winning American writer for stage, screen, and television. He grew up in Ohio before attending New York University to study acting. After a brief career on stage, he turned his attention to writing. His many award-winning plays, original and adaptations, have been performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in theatres around the world.

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