Written by David Hare

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.

AuthorDavid Hare

Sir David Hare (b 1947)

Hare was born in Bexhill, East Sussex into a family with no tradition in theatre but which was keen for him to better himself through education, with the goal of becoming a chartered accountant. He has written little of his family and childhood except to record that Bexhill in the Fifties was "incredibly dull".

In 1970 his first play 'Slag' was performed at the Hampstead Theatre Club and a year later he first worked at the National Theatre, beginning one of the longest relationships of any playwright with a contemporary theatre. Through the 1970s he also ran a touring theatre company working with a number of other writers and then in 1978 wrote 'Plenty', his most ambitious play to date which was almost universally panned by the London critics. Feeling that his career was almost over, he left London for America.

In 1993 his trilogy about three institutions at the heart of Britain's society, 'Racing Demon', 'Murmuring Judges' and 'The Absence of War', were presented together in repertory at the Olivier Theatre. Since 1983, nine of his best-known plays, including 'Plenty', 'The Secret Rapture', 'Skylight', 'The Judas Kiss', 'Amy's View' and 'Via Dolorosa' have been presented on Broadway. 'Plenty' and 'The Secret Rapture' have also been filmed.

He has written several screenplays including 'Wetherby', 'Paris by Night' and 'Strapless' as well as several for television; 'Licking Hitler', 'Dreams of Leaving' and 'Heading Home'. Other work has included the opera libretto for 'The Knife'. His adaptation of 'La Ronde' by Schnitzler was retitled 'The Blue Room' and received critical acclaim in the Donmar Warehouse production starring Nicole Kidman.

Hare's awards include a BAFTA, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, a Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear, an Olivier Award and a London Theatre Critics' Award. He was knighted in 1998.


'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.

The Bench Production

Skylight poster image

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.


KyraJulie Wood
EdwardMartin McBride
TomDavid Penrose


Director Judy Bodenham
Producer Ingrid Corrigan
Stage Manager Zoë Chapman
Assistant Stage Managers Laura Bradshaw
Sophie Callard
Lighting Design Damon Wakelin
Lighting Operation Nick Hurd
Sound Archivist Killian Fox
Sound Recordist Nathan Chapman
Sound Operation Ingrid Corrigan
Props Sue Dawes
Publicity Ingrid Corrigan
Programme Editor Derek Callam
Photographs Bill Whiting
Front of House Ingrid Corrigan

Director's Notes

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.

Judy Bodenham


The NewsMike Allen

Masterly acting gives Bench another triumph

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

Production Photographs