Thurs 21st April - Sat 23rd April & Tues 26th April to Sat 30th April 2005
Directed by Judy Bodenham
Kyra is a young teacher working and living in one of London's less attractive districts. Tom's wife has recently died of cancer: he is a wealthy entrepreneur and Kyra's former lover. On a cold winter night Tom's teenage son, Edward, calls on the young teacher to beg her to be reconciled with his father.
Tom himself arrives, wishing to expiate his guilt and renew his lust. Kyra complies, sort of, until the debate soars and the insults fly in a way that makes you wish your own kitchen-table tiffs were half as brutal, half as civilised. David Hare's passionate play is sharp and satisfying, an impassioned head-on collision of values and confused desires.
'Skylight' opened at the Royal National Theatre, Cottesloe, directed by Richard Eyre, in 1995 and the production won the Olivier Award for that season. A later Broadway production was also nominated for several Tony's.
East London school teacher Kyra Hollis is visited on the same night by son and father Edward and Tom Sargeant. Kyra had been living with the Sargeant family years earlier, but left after her affair with Tom was discovered by Tom's wife, who has since passed. Edward now accuses Kyra of having left him as well, as he saw her as a big sister; and he demands to know why she left his life.
Shortly thereafter, Tom - a wealthy restaurateur - appears unheralded and for no apparent reason. Kyra's less than glamorous lifestyle leads him to poke fun at her to the point of insult, accusing her of self-punishment. After Kyra cooks a spaghetti dinner (which the actress actually cooks on stage), the talk turns to their relationship, and it becomes clear that their chances to be rekindled rest on whether one of them can change their preconceived notions of the other.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977. David Penrose was voted 'Best Amateur Actor' for his portrayal of Tom, in The News 'Guide' Awards 2005.
|Stage Manager||Zoë Chapman|
|Assistant Stage Managers||Laura Bradshaw|
|Lighting Design||Damon Wakelin|
|Lighting Operation||Nick Hurd|
|Sound Archivist||Killian Fox|
|Sound Recordist||Nathan Chapman|
|Sound Operation||Ingrid Corrigan|
|Programme Editor||Derek Callam|
|Front of House||Ingrid Corrigan|
Late last year I read David Hare's 'Skylight' and loved it. Playwright David Hare describes the relationships in his play as an exploration of "...the gap between what he, the character, says he is, and what we see him to be: the difference between what a man or a woman says, and what he or she does." He adds that "...the wonderful thing about theatre, which is completely paradoxical about it, is that the whole point about it is intimacy in a public place". It's a huge opportunity and responsibility, to direct such a play and we are working hard to achieve something special.
Another triumph for Havant-based Bench Theatre - and for David Penrose in particular. David Hare's masterly play is about emotions and ideas - private business and public idealism, personal guilt and atonement, 'possession' of and respect for people.
Here director Judy Bodenham takes the brave decision not to rush it, rightly recognising that the words need to be savoured. But the production catches fire because of Penrose's mastery of dynamic and tempo variation, not least in delivering Hare's barbs of sardonic social humour. This Tom is complex: monstrous perhaps, but not a monster.
Julie Wood, on stage throughout as Kyra, Tom's younger ex-mistress, achieves many of her best effects by sidelong glances that speak a hundred words. If she seems at times to lapse into speechifying - well, that is only in direct comparison with the vastly more experienced Penrose.
Martin McBride catches both the gaucheness and the audacity of youth as Tom's son - cleverly showing him to be an 18-year-old with more of his father in him than he would want to admit. Peter Woodward's naturalistic set is as striking in detail as in broad brush.
The News, 25th April 2005