In the theatre in Drury Lane, London, the young actor, Ned Spigget, steps forward to deliver the prologue of John Dryden’s latest play. However, he is nervous and still learning his trade, and he forgets his lines. When he is heckled by the audience, local orange-hawker, Nell Gwynn, steps in to saucily put the heckler back in his place. She encourages Ned to carry on with the play. The renowned actor, Charles Hart, then takes over from Ned and the chorus bursts into song.
Later on, Hart comes to find Nell. He is intrigued by her and decides to teach her how to project in a theatre. Things take a flirtatious turn when he then teaches her how to perform the poses of fear, anger, despair and … love. He is overwhelmed by her talent and her beauty, and decides to teach her how to become a proficient actress. If she commits, practises every day, and learns all the traditional attitudes (poses), he will introduce her to the manager of the King’s Company. After he leaves, Nell’s
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