Compleat Female Stage Beauty

Jeffrey Hatcher's Compleat Female Stage Beauty explores the story of Edward Kynaston, a Restoration-era actor called "the prettiest woman in the whole house" by Samuel Pepys. He specialized in female roles, but found his career in jeopardy when women were finally allowed on the stage. The play, which was also adapted into the film Stage Beauty in 2004, is making its Twin Cities debut. "I am fascinated by issues of identity in performance — especially as it relates to gender — and Kynaston's journey is a particularly fascinating one, requiring a very intricate and subtle delivery," says director John Heimbuch. Hatcher's journey with the play followed a similar course, starting with comments in Pepys's famous diary that led him to explore Kynaston's real history and begin to imagine how his life would have been in that time and how it may have changed with the introduction of female actors onstage, which also came with a decree that men could no longer play women's roles. "It was a perverse form of affirmative action," Hatcher says. "The Brits would call it 'an industrial redundancy.'" Kynaston's sense of self was obliterated by the king's new, liberalized view of the stage. His definition of his role in life has been irrevocably altered, and he has no recourse. The production also provides a prime role for the lead actor. "After working with Wade Vaughn in last year's Drakul, I was eager to see what he could do with the role of Edward Kynaston," Heimbuch says. (Photo by Dan Norman)
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: May 18. Continues through June 2, 2012

 
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