The Dresser

Synopsis: In the closing months of World War Two ageing actor 'Sir' and his wife Her Ladyship bring Shakespeare to the provinces with a company depleted by conscription. 'Sir' is plainly unwell, discharging himself from hospital and Her Ladyship believes he should cancel his upcoming performance of 'King Lear'. However Norman, his outspoken, gay dresser disagrees and is determined that the show will go on, cajoling the confused 'Sir' into giving a performance - one which will be his swansong, at the same time drawing a parallel between King Lear and his fool as Norman, despite ultimate disappointment, serves his master.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Richard Eyre
Production: Playground Productions
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
105 min

"I'm Norman, I'm his dresser. "

And the woman, she had her hair in

curlers, she took his hand,

she kissed it, and she said,

"You was lovely in

The Corsican Brothers. "

He looked at her for a long time,

then he smiled sweetly,

you know the way he does

when he's wanting to charm?

"Thank you, my dear,

but you must excuse me.

"I have to make an exit,"

and he ran off.

He said, "I have to make an exit"?

Well, of course, I followed him,

fearing the worst.

I didn't know he could run so fast.

I just followed this trail of

discarded clothing, the jacket,

the waistcoat, and I thought,

"We can't have Sir doing a

striptease round town. "

But then I found him.

Leaning up against a lamppost.

Weeping. Where?

Outside the Kardomah.

Without a word,

hardly knowing what I was doing,

I led him to the hospital.

The sister didn't recognise him,

although later she said she'd

seen him last night as Othello.

A doctor was summoned,

short, bald, bespectacled,

and I was excluded

by the drawing of screens.

And then you telephoned me.

No, I waited.

I lurked, as Edgar says,

and I heard the doctor whisper,

"This man is exhausted.

This man is in a state of collapse. "

And that's how it happened.

He did nothing but cry.

Yes, you said.

I left him lying on top of the bed,

still in his clothes, crying,

no, weeping, as though he'd lost

control, had no choice,

wept and wept, floodgates.

What are we to do?

In an hour there will be

an audience in this theatre

hoping to see him as King Lear.

What AM I to do?

Well, don't upset

yourself, for a start.

Well, I've never had to make this

sort of decision before.

Any sort of decision before.

As soon as I came out

of the hospital I telephoned Madge

and asked her to meet me

here as soon as possible.

She'll know what to do.

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Richard Eyre

Sir Richard Charles Hastings Eyre (born 28 March 1943) is an English film, theatre, television and opera director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Dresser" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 18 Jan. 2021. <>.

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