In 1661 the most famous portray-er of female roles on the London stage was a performer named “Kynaston.” Like every other player permitted to enact such roles, Kynaston was a man. A celebrity artist shining bright at the crest of the English 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 illegally one night at a competing theater, instead of stopping the show, the ever-game King Charles II changes the law to allow women to act on the stage.
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. And as such women as the king’s own courtesan, Nell Gwynn, and Kynaston’s former dresser, Maria, become stars, his own light disappears until fate and his desire for revenge give him a chance to take the stage again.
Back Alley Productions has been creating thought provoking, quality, theater for the New Hampshire Seacoast since 2008. Its founders, Joi Smith and Danica Carlson, share a passion for highlighting the amazing talents in the community and bringing to life the beautiful stories of the human experience for their audiences to enjoy.