Exit the Actress

By: Priya Parmar

p. cm.



1. Gwyn, Nell, 1650–1687—Fiction. 2. Charles II, King of England, 1630–1685—Fiction. 3. Mistresses—Great Britain—Fiction 4. Actresses—Great Britain—Fiction. 5. Great Britain—Kings and rulers—Paramours—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3616. A757 E95 2011

813’.6—dc22

2009048703

ISBN 978-1-4391-7117-2

ISBN 978-1-4391-7118-9 (ebook)





for my mother and father

from nora who left for plumbean’s house

to see the moon with you





Exit the Actress





By Most Particular Desire



THEATRE ROYAL, COVENT GARDEN



Audiences Brilliant and Overflowing



Are Invited to Attend the Premiere of



EXIT THE ACTRESS



This Present Wednesday, May 1, 1662



will be repeated tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday next



PRESENTED BY MR. THOMAS KILLIGREW,



LEASEE AND ROYAL PATENT HOLDER



With: the cast as listed below



Gwyn Family

Mrs.* Eleanor Gwyn (Ellen/Nell/Nelly)—an orange girl turned actress at the King’s Theatre



Mrs. Rose Cassels (née Gwyn)—Ellen’s older sister



Mrs. Eleanor Gwyn (Nora)—Ellen and Rose’s mother; a serving woman at the Rose Tavern



Captain Thomas Gwyn**—Nora’s husband; an officer in the Royal Army



Dr. Edward Gwyn (Grandfather)—Captain Gwyn’s father; a canon of Christ Church, Oxford



Mrs. Margaret Gwyn*** (Great-Aunt Margaret)—Dr. Gwyn’s sister; living in Oxford



Theatre

Mr. Theophilus Bird (Theo)—Actor at the King’s Theatre



Mr. Nicholas Burt (Nick)—Actor at the King’s Theatre



Mr. William Davenant—Manager of the Duke’s Theatre



Mrs. Moll Davis—Actress at the Duke’s Theatre; mistress to King Charles II



Mr. John Dryden—Playwright; Poet Laureate



Sir George Etheredge—Wit; playwright



Mr. Charles Hart—Actor; major shareholder of the King’s Theatre



Mrs. Margaret Hughes (Peg)—Actress at the King’s Theatre and possibly the first woman to act upon the London stage



Mr. Harry Killigrew—Groom of the Bedchamber; Wit; son of Thomas Killigrew



Mr. Thomas Killigrew—Patent holder; manager and major shareholder of the King’s Theatre; former Groom of the Bedchamber



Mrs. Elizabeth Knep (Lizzie)—Actress; mistress of diarist Samuel Peyps



Mr. Edward Kynaston (Teddy)—Former cross-dressing star; Wit; well-loved actor



Mr. John Lacy—Actor, choreographer at the King’s Theatre



Mrs. Rebecca Marshall (Becka)—Actress at the King’s Theatre



Mrs. Mary Megs (Orange Moll)—Orange seller at the King’s Theatre; employs the orange girls



Royal Families of England and France

King Charles I**—King of England; executed in 1649



Queen Henrietta Maria—His queen; daughter of King Henri IV of France; aunt to King Louis XIV of France



King Charles II—Son of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria and cousin to King Louis XIV of France; restored to the throne in 1660



Queen Catherine of Braganza—Wife to King Charles II; former Portuguese Infanta



King Louis XIV—King of France; first cousin to King Charles II



James, Duke of Monmouth (Jemmy)—Illegitimate first-born son of King Charles II and Lucy Walker



Henry, Duke of Gloucester**—Brother of King Charles II; died of the sweat in 1660



James, Duke of York—Younger brother of King Charles II



Anne, Duchess of York—His wife, daughter to the Earl of Clarendon



Henriette-Anne (Minette)—Youngest child of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria; the Madame of France; Duchesse d’Orléans; married to Philippe, Duc d’Orléans



Philippe Charles d’Orléans—Brother of King Louis XIV; the Monsieur of France; Duc d’Orléans, husband of Minette



Royal Court of England

Sir Henry Bennet—Lord Arlington; Secretary of State



Earl of Clarendon—Chancellor, Privy Councillor, father of Anne, Duchess of York



Lady Barbara Palmer (née Villiers)—Countess of Castlemaine; Duchess of



Cleveland; mistress to King Charles II, mother of their five children



Lord Buckhurst (Charles Sackville)—Earl of Dorset and Middlesex; Wit, poet



Sir Charles Sedley—Wit, poet



George Villiers—Duke of Buckingham; Wit; Privy Councillor; childhood friend of King Charles II, cousin of Barbara Castlemaine



Lord John Wilmot (Johnny)—Earl of Rochester; Wit; poet



To Be Performed by:



THE KING’S COMPANY (ESTABLISHED 1660)



PERFORMANCES BEGIN AT 3 O’CLOCK DAILY





PROLOGUE



SPOKEN BY THE ACTRESS



MRS. NELLY GWYN



upon her Farewell Performance



THEATRE ROYAL, DRURY LANE, LONDON



Prompt Copy



TAKEN BY STAGE MANAGER BOOTH



March 1, 1670



Mrs. Nelly Gwyn: (Whispering in the wing, hands folded, eyes closed.) Take a breath. Count three. Curtain up. Now.

(Curtain rises. Enter the Actress stage left.)

Mrs. Nelly Gwyn: Here I am. Back by request: for one night only, at his behest. (Deep court curtsey to KING CHARLES II, seated in the royal box.) What a lark and what a loss that such things are no longer fit for one such as me. How impossible is my unlikely luck: For here we are for one last night, to whirl like a dervish, and dance in delight, to look round and round at the faces bright, brightened still by candlelight. And then the curtain will fall and the thing will be done.

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