New play to be the “Compleat” package

“Compleat Female Stage Beauty,” the play by Jeffrey Hatcher, opens at the Royall Tyler Theatre on Feb. 20. It is a scintillating tale of gender and theater that “takes place in 1661 during the Restoration when King Charles II declared that women could act on the stage and men were no longer permitted to play female characters,” explained director Sarah Carleton. According to UVM Theatre’s Patron Web site, www.uvmtheatre.org, the tale revolves around Ned Kynaston, an actor who thrives playing females onstage. After the decree is passed, however, he finds his fame dwindling, while his female ex-assistant scores all the plum female roles. Hatcher adapted the play for film in 2004 to mixed re?views. A.O. Scott of The New York Times noted that the drama “is propelled by a complex and fascinating set of ideas about sexual identity and theatrical performance,” but that the sexual politics could also be “torturous.” “Compleat Female Stage Beauty” marks the final production in the UVM Theatre Department’s season, and promises to be a great success. “Audiences will love the characters. Visual elements are stunning. Costumes, set, lights, sound … glorious!” said director Sarah Carleton. Tickets are available through the patron Web site, www.uvmtheatre.org. You may want to check it out, as it “contains mature material that may not be suited for younger audiences,” accord?ing to the site. Now that’s a grand finale.