Charles Britton • Link
Kynaston is the main character in "Stage Beauty," to be released in October 2004. Hugh Bonneville plays Pepys in the film.
phil mroz • Link
Up until the early 1660's women's roles were played by men, Edward Kynaston was England's most celebrated leading lady, using his beauty and skill to make the great female roles his own. When Charles II eventually allowed real women to play women roles and the men could no longer do so, Kynaston becomes a virtual nobody.
Kate • Link
Actually, Kynaston continued to be a successful dramatic actor after the introduction of actresses, which would likely have happened with age anyway (that was often the story with boy actors).
Stage beauty is good, and references lots of historical accounts, but it emphasizes and dramatizes certain facts for the sake of narrative. For instance Kynaston had in fact played men various times before it became official decree that men could only play men (interestingly, I think the first English woman to play a male character was in 1667?).
Kate • Link
Sorry, the first English woman playing a man was actually in 1776, Sarah Siddon, as Hamlet.
Airyn • Link
actually, it was Mrs. Coleman in a private theater before/in 1656.
Airyn • Link
just kidding i misread the answer.
Edward Kynaston, engaged by Sir W. Davenant, in 1660, to perform the principal female characters: he afterwards assumed the male ones in the first parts of tragedy, and continued on the stage till the end of King William's reign. He died in 1712.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.
Tho', as I have before observed, Women were not admitted to the Stage till the Restoration, yet it could not be so suddenly supplied with them, but that there was still a Necessity to put the handsomest young Men into Petticoats; which Kynaston was then said to have worn with Success particularly in the Part of Evadne, in the Maid's Tragedy, Arthiope in the Unfortunate Lovers, the Princess in the Mad Lover, Ismenia in the Maid in the Mill, Aglaura, &c. being Parts so greatly moving Compassion, that it has been disputed among the Judicious, whether any Woman could have more sensibly touched the Passions.
Kynaston at that time was so beautiful a Youth, that the Ladies of Quality prided themselves in taking him with them in their Coaches to Hyde-park, in his theatrical Habit, after the Play; which in those days they might have sufficient time to do, because Plays then, were us'd to begin at four a-Clock, the Hour that People of the same Rank are now going to Dinner, This Truth I had confirmed from his own Mouth, in his advanced Age. Indeed to the last of him, his Handsomeness was little abated; even at past sixty, his Teeth were all sound, white and even, as one would wish to see in a beautiful young Woman of twenty. He had something of a formal Gravity in his Mien, which was attributed to the stately Step he had been so early confined to, in a female decency. But that, in Characters of Superiority had its proper Graces; it misbecame him not in the part of Leon, in Fletcher's Rule a Wife, and Have a Wife, which he executed with a determined Manliness, and honest Authority, well worth the best Actor's Imitation. He had a piercing Eye, and in Characters of heroic Life, a quick imperious Vivacity in his Tone of Voice, that painted the Tyrant truly terrible.
---The History of the Stage. C. Cibber, 1742
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.