Stage Beauty (2004)
King Charles II: Why shouldn't we have women on stage? After all, the French have been doing it for years.
Sir Edward Hyde: Whenever we're about to do something truly horrible, we always say that the French have been doing it for years.
Maria: Your old tutor did you a great disservice, Mr. Kynaston. He taught you how to speak, and swoon, and toss your head but he never taught you how to suffer like a woman, or love like a woman. He trapped a man in a woman's form and left you there to die! I always hated you as Desdemona. You never fought! You just died, beautifully. No woman would die like that, no matter how much she loved him. A woman would fight!
Ned Kynaston: A part doesn't belong to an actor; an actor belongs to a part.
King Charles II: My astronomers tell me that a star's light shines on long after it has died, even though it doesn't know it.
Ned Kynaston: Do you know the Five Positions of Feminine Subjugation?
Ned Kynaston: The Five Positions of Feminine Subjugation. No? Perhaps you're more acquainted with the Pose of Tragic Acceptance. Or the Demeanor of Awe and Terror.
Maria: Mr. Kynaston.
Ned Kynaston: How about the Supplicant's Clasp or the Attitude of Prostrate Grief?
Maria: Mr. Kynaston.
Ned Kynaston: Funny, you've seen be perform them a thousand times. I'd have thought they'd taken hold.
Maria: Mr. Kynaston!
Ned Kynaston: Ah, well now, there's a feminine gesture. You seem to have managed the Stamp of Girlish Petulance.
Maria: I just wanted to act. I just wanted to do what you do.
Ned Kynaston: I have worked half my life to do what I do. Fourteen boys crammed in a cellar... Do you know when I was in training for this profession, I was not permitted to wear a woman's dress for three long years, I was not permitted to wear a wig for four - not until I had proved that I had eliminated every masculine gesture, every masculine intonation from my very being. What teacher did you learn from? What cellar was your home?
Maria: I had no teacher, nor such a classroom. But then, I had less need of training.
Ned Kynaston: A woman playing a woman? Where's the trick in that?
Ned Kynaston: Right, I'll need boot black.
Sir Charles Sedley: I have boot black.
Ned Kynaston: With you?
Sir Charles Sedley: A scuff, sir, is a dreadful thing.
Maria: What do you know of love, sir? Or loyalty? Or adoration suffered in deepest silence? The only love you know, sir, is what you act on stage.
Sir Charles Sedley: Kynaston... It feels I've had the honour already.
Ned Kynaston: Or you've already had the honour of feeling it.
Sir Charles Sedley: Obviously I'm behind on my drinking.
King Charles II: Exile is a dreadful thing for one who knows his rightful place.
Female Emilia: What cry is that? Sweet mistress, speak. Who hath done this deed?
Maria: Nobody. I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. Farewell.
Ned Kynaston: Why? How should she be murdered?
Maria: So, who are you now?
Ned Kynaston: I don't know.
Ned Kynaston: I don't know.
Maria: Why won't you play men?
Ned Kynaston: Men aren't beautiful. What they do isn't beautiful either. Women do everything beautifully, especially when they die. Men feel far too much. *Feeling* ruins the effect. Feeling makes it ugly.
[Maria rolls her eyes]
Ned Kynaston: Perhaps that's why I could never pull off the death scene. I- could never feel it in a way that wouldn't mar the-
Ned Kynaston: I couldn't let the beauty die. Without beauty there's nothing. Who could love that?
[Ned is showing Maria different sexual positions; Ned is on his stomach underneath her]
Maria: So, am I the man or the woman?
Ned Kynaston: You're the man.
Maria: And you're the woman.
Ned Kynaston: Yes.
Maria: Isn't much to do.
Ned Kynaston: Not with what we're given.
Ned Kynaston: [discussing Maria's first Othello show] Did you go round after?
George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: Oh, too crowded. Pepys went. If two mice were fucking in a nutshell, he'd find room to squeeze in and write it down.
Samuel Pepys: Tell me about your parentage, Miss Gwynn.
Nell Gwynn: My mum was a whore, my father was in the navy.
Samuel Pepys: I see.
Nell Gwynn: That's why I don't never do sailors.
George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: [When the king asks him whether he liked Othello] Yes. I never tire of Othello.
Ned Kynaston: Truth be told, sir, he never tires of Desdemona.
Sir Charles Sedley: So, Kynaston, will you see Mrs Hughes perform?
Maria: Yes, I'd love to know what you think of the death scene.
Ned Kynaston: Oh, I'm always interested in how my rivals die.
Sir Charles Sedley: [to the Duke of Buckingham] Your Grace?
George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: Well, no. I've had my fill of Desdemonas.
George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: [later] I'm off as well. Kynaston... shall I drop you?
Ned Kynaston: Yes, I need my sleep.
Nell Gwynn: Charlie boy, where's his toy? Oh, your Majesty, let me see the crown!
King Charles II: Balance the scales, Kynaston. Give the girls a chance.
King Charles II: Kynaston? How in hell did you get in here?
Ned Kynaston: A former fellow actor is your undercook and has long been a dear friend to me.
King Charles II: Then we'll have to execute him.
Sir Edward Hyde: [groans] Ohhhh.
King Charles II: [sighs] A joke. A joke. Calm down, Kynaston.
Ned Kynaston: I want to act.
King Charles II: Then act.
Ned Kynaston: I want to act as I did before.
King Charles II: You mean the girls' parts.
Ned Kynaston: If you will.
King Charles II: I won't.
King Charles II: Act a man, Kynaston. How hard can it be?
Ned Kynaston: It is not a question of acting a man. I can act a man. There's no artistry in that. There are things that I can be as a woman that I cannot be as a man.
Ned Kynaston: I'm not teaching you how to be a woman. I'm teaching you how to be Desdemona.
Samuel Pepys: You know, Mr. K, the performance of yours I always liked best? As much as I adored your Desdemona and your Juliet, I've always loved best your 'britches' parts. Rosalind, for instance. And not just because of the woman stuff but also because of the man sections. Your performance of the man stuff seemed so right, so true. I suppose I felt it was the most real in the play.
Ned Kynaston: You know why the man stuff seemed so real? Because I'm pretending. You see a man through the mirror of a woman through the mirror of a man. You take one of those reflecting glasses away it doesn't work. The man only works because you see him in contrast to the woman he is. If you saw him without the her he lives inside, he wouldn't seem a man at all.
Samuel Pepys: Yes. You've obviously thought longer on this question than I.
Ned Kynaston: Oh, mother, oh, mother, oh, what shall I do?/ I've married a man who's unable to screw!/ My troubles are many my pleasures are small/ For I've married a man who has no balls at all!
Maria: Mr. Pepys - who do you write all those little notes for?
Samuel Pepys: For myself, alone.
Maria: Do you enjoy it?
Samuel Pepys: I love it. Don't you love acting?
Maria: [hesitates] Yes... But unfortunately, I cannot do it for myself alone, for I fear in truth I am terrible at it.
[Ned is showing Maria different sexual positions; Maria is now on her stomach underneath him]
Maria: So, who am I now?
Ned Kynaston: You're the man.
Ned Kynaston: Uh, you're the woman.
Maria: [giggles] And you're?
Ned Kynaston: I'm the man, or so I assume. Seldom get up here, quite a view.
Maria: But I'm the man-woman.
Ned Kynaston: Yes, you're the man-woman.
Nell Gwynn: A man isn't how he walks or how he speaks. It's what he does.
[Kynaston is in a large, frilly costume dress, and a noblemen has just gone up his skirt, feeling at his crotch and looking surprised]
Ned Kynaston: Found a guardian at the gate, did you?
Thomas Betterton: I played the Moor.
Stage door hanger-on: You look... different.
Thomas Betterton: Yes... I'm not really black.
[Maria has just asked how men make love to men]
Ned Kynaston: Right... In the saddle.