Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher

Directed by Gaye Poole

13 - 16 August 2008

As part of this winter’s season of theatre, and supported by University of Waikato’s Cultural Committee along with Hamilton Community Arts Council and Trust Waikato, local director and Lecturer in Theatre Studies, Gaye Poole directs a ‘Carving in Ice’ production of Jeffery Hatcher’s Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Written in 2000, this is a provocative and touching play, 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?

The play is set in the theatre world of 1660’s London and tells the story of Edward Kynaston (Richard Homan), the most famous portrayer of female roles on the London stage in 1661. A celebrity artist shining bright at the crest of the Restoration, Mr K is applauded onstage and off for his interpretations of Shakespeare’s tragic ladies: Ophelia, Cleopatra, especially Desdemona and his famous ‘death scene’. He’s the toast of the town and the very secret ‘mistress’ of the powerful Duke of Buckingham (Moko Smith). But when an unknown named Margaret Hughes (Pip Six) plays Desdemona one night at an illegal theatre, instead of stopping the show, the ever-game King Charles II (Brendan West) changes the law to allow women to act. By the stroke of a pen, Kynaston’s world is turned upside down. He loses his cachet, his livelihood, his lover and his sense of self. When women such as the King’s own courtesan, Nell Gwynn (Jessica Anderson), and Kynaston’s former dresser, Maria (Louise Blackstock), become stars, his own light disappears until fate and his desire for revenge give him a chance to take the stage again.

Although set in the 1600’s the issues raised in the play are contemporary. If we change how we are on the outside, does that fundamentally change us and how does that influence the way people receive us?

The cast includes Alec Forbes (Roy in Cosi and director of many Hamilton Gardens Summer Shakespeares), Richard Homan (awarded the best street act at the Dunedin Fringe Festival in 2006), Kirstine Moffat and Graeme Cairns alongside a cast of very dedicated up and coming local talent. Most of the cast, including Richard who plays Kynaston, have worked with Gaye before in the highly successful productions of The Laramie Project (2006), Cosi (2007), Half Life (2007) and Marmalade: sweet sour sticky (Fuel 2008).

Beautiful period-inflected costumes are a special feature of this production.

Creative Team & Crew

Direction/Design: Gaye Poole
Lighting Design: Sean Lynch
Production Management: Gaye Poole/Antonia Lema Trevino
Stage Management: Delwyn Dellow
Assistant Stage Management: Stuart Dunn
Lighting Operation: Charlie Joramo
Costume design and construction: Cherie Cooke
Assistants to Cherie Cooke: Carol Morley, Nola Paterson, Joss Robertson
Othello bed design/construction: Adrian Holroyd
Construction of scenic pieces/props: Clive Hobson
Painters: Antonia/Jason/Moko/Zoe/Keagan
Props acquisition: Richard /Gaye/Antonia
Props construction: Delwyn /Stuart
Poster/card/programme cover design: Mary Faber
Photography: Stuart Dunn
Fight Choreography/breast plate: Brendan West
‘Raging Dido’ shield: David Cooke
Publicity/marketing: Gaye Poole
Wardrobe supervisor: Antonia Lema Trevino
Wardrobe assistant: Arianne Zilberberg
Props: Renee Casserly
Scene change crew: Jason Tolley/Renee Casserly/Jacques Fourie/Keagan Fransch/Scot Hall/Zoe Vaile
Wigs dresser: Missy Cooke


Samuel Pepys: Clive Lamdin
Edward Kynaston: Richard Homan
Thomas Betterton: Alec Forbes
Male Emilia: Stuart Dunn
Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: Moko Smith
Maria, a seamstress/female Emilia: Louise Blackstock
Lady Meresvale: Kirstine Moffat
Miss Frayne: Bella Wheeler
Sir Charles Sedley: Graeme Cairns
Margaret Hughes: Pip Six
Charles II: Brendan West
Nell Gwynn: Jessica Anderson
Hyde, Prime Minister: David Lumsden
Mistress Revels: Renee Casserly
Ruffian, courtier, audience: Keagan Fransch
Killigrew/ruffian/courtier/audience/thug: Scot Hall
Ruffian, courtier, audience: Jacques Fourie
Courtier/audience: Zoe Vaile
Courtier/audience: Arianne Zilberberg
Sir Peter Lelly/bouncer/courtier/ruffian: Jason Tolley
Mrs Elizabeth Barry: Antonia Lema Trevino
‘Harpsichord’ players: Clive Lamdin, Antonia Lema, Kirstine Moffat