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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
Shakespeare in Love, the Sequel Opening in October
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1654  Monday, 6 September 2004

From:           Richard Burt <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 4 Sep 2004 03:49:55 -0400
Subject:        Shakespeare in Love, the Sequel Opening in October

This time the drama is Restoration and Claire Danes stars.  Taking up
where Shakespeare in Love Left, Stage Beauty gives us Charles II opening
the stage to (more dramatically authentic) women, but the reigning
(dramatically conventional and artificial) drag queen (Billy Crudup) is
then displaced.  (He still wants to play female rather than male roles).
  There are brief moments in the trailer which signal a performance of
Othello (focusing on Desdemona's death).  Apparently, the drag queen
makes a come back as a "black" man (Othello).

Stage Beauty (2004)
Directed by
Richard Eyre
Official website (and trailer): http://www.radiotimes.com/stagebeauty/
Synopsis
Stage-struck, star-struck, love-struck...

It's the 1660s, and actor Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup) is sitting pretty;
the brightest star in Restoration theatre. Women are forbidden to appear
on stage, so the beautiful, brazen, bisexual Ned shines in all the great
female roles. Maria (Claire Danes), his loyal dresser, looks on with
admiration - and just a touch of envy.

But suddenly, Ned's world is turned upside-down. Charles II is keen to
spice up the theatre and see his persuasive young mistress Nell Gwyn
take some applause. So he changes the law, banning cross-dressing male
actors, and sending Ned's once-glittering career into freefall.

Reduced to doing drag turns in a seedy tavern, Ned is finally rescued by
Maria, who by now is starting to make a name for herself as an actress.

Having found each other, they find themselves, and a reinvented Ned
makes a triumphant return to the stage as Maria's leading man.

Billy Crudup and Claire Danes join a host of British stars in a
dramatically different period romance.

"Set in the 1660's at a time when in live theatre women's roles were
played by men, Edward 'Ned' Kynaston (Crudup) is England's most
celebrated leading lady, using his beauty and skill to make the great
female roles his own. But when Charles II is tired of seeing the same
old performers, the ruler allows real women to tread the boards and men
may no longer play women's parts. Ned becomes a virtual nobody,
virtually overnight and seems headed for suicide till his ex-dresser
turned actress Maria (Danes) takes it upon herself to make a man of him
again."
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368658/
R, Comedy Drama, 1hr 50min. Opens in the U.S. on October 29, 2004

Side note:  Gabriel Byrne's character makes a reference to Lady Macbeth
(his wife) and to Goneril and Regan (his daughters-in law) in Vanity
Fair (dir. Mira Nair, 2004).

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