The organiser says:
Skylight – a hugely successful and popular play by the much lauded David Hare – is set in the mid-nineties. A time that seems, on the surface, to be so close to the present as to be almost interchangeable. And yet the world was so utterly different. Not only does the story inherently rely on mobile phones not existing and every house in the country still having a copy of the Yellow Pages, it also seems to exist in a world of lost innocence. Despite the intimate, almost romantic nature of the play, David Hare says he set out to write a play about the world of business.
Tom, one of the two lovers and protagonists, played previously by Michael Gambon and Bill Nighy, is a man who prides himself on the money he has made and the jobs he has created. Yet the play was written before the financial crash, in a world when capitalism was viewed very differently to today.
John Terry, the play’s director, believes that the play is not only relevant today, but perhaps in a very different way to its first performances. “I think the thing that resonates from Skylight in 2019 is not so much a debate about whether business is good or bad” he says, “but the very idea of two people who love each other, who are attracted to each other, and yet think so fundamentally differently about the world.” He draws comparisons with the fall-out of the Brexit vote, and attitudes to climate change: “We live in a time when people cannot understand how their partner, or their parent, or their sibling or friend can see the world so differently from them. We don’t understand why people we think we know act – or vote – in the way that they do.”
Kyra, the other protagonist, and Tom’s former lover, is a teacher in a struggling inner-city school, living in a freezing flat in an unloved part of London. To her, Tom is voracious and uncaring – to him, she is ineffective and idealist. This fundamental clash of personalities drives the drama and much of the humour in this play. John feels that this central dynamic speaks to the here and now: “It is delicious and very enjoyable to watch it play out – like one of those conversations in a pub when nobody is quite sure if everyone is joking or deadly serious. We have gulfs opening up between us, beneath the apparent solidity of our everyday lives – and Tom and Kyra do too. They keep falling for each other, being repelled, being delighted, being shocked. It’s incredibly entertaining to watch and be a witness to this deeply truthful and brilliantly written dramatic tension.”