Skylight

By David Hareskylight by david hare

Directed by Nick Izzo

Produced by Appetite Theatre

At The Second stage, Chicago

Smart idea play is well acted

British playwright David Hare’s 1996 three person drama, Skylight,  is a fresh take on the aftermath of two lovers reunited after three years apart. The writing is dense and intellectual in parts covering many topics including socio-economics, entrepreneurial beliefs and the rules of a love triangle.  We met Kyra Hollis (Basia Kapolka), an early middle aged school teacher living in a frigid North London low-rent apartment. She is visited by Edward Sergent (Colin Henry Fewell), an 18 year old boy and son of her ex-lover/employer Tom Sergent. Edward awkwardly gives Kyra news that his mother has died a year ago and that his father has not handled the death very well. Edward asks Kyra for help since there was so much history between Tom and her.  Kyra is not convinced since she has moved on with her life after the affair ended.

That same night, Tom (Nick Izzo) finally pays Kyra a visit to her run-down flat. Tom is a rich restauranteur who lives the  life style of the rich and famous.  The meeting of the ex lovers becomes a passive-aggressive verbally intense debate over their history, their beliefs and their personal passions. Through a series of monologues, intense arguments, with some cooking throw in, Skylight becomes a smartly fresh take on the elements of character, that at one point attracts two people to be lovers, and later, once apart, both realize that they had little binding  them together.

Kyra always wanted to be a person who wanted to “make a difference in the world” – first by being a loyal employee of Tom and as a family friend to Tom’s wife Alice. Then once Alice found out about the affair,  Kyra left to become an intercity teacher.  Tom always wanted more -more restaurants, more money, more than one lover (Alice and Kyra). Now after three years away from Kyra and one year after Alice’s death, Tom wants and needs Kyra in his life.

Th evening unfolds with heated debates, love making and realizations by each character. Hare’ s script covers the social class divides between Thatcherites and Socialists  that dominated British life in the 1990’s.  These philosophical arguments get quite personal when they are reduced to such questions as what do you need to get through the day? A belief system? A dedication to a cause? Survival? Absolution? Love? Or a burning desire for wealth? What are you willing to give,  to sacrifice and to share toward those ends?  Hare has crafted a deeply personal framework that explores such ideas making them personally relevant.

The production values by Appetite Theatre worked to make this show worth seeing. Jonathan T. Sage’s set aptly depicts a poor person’s London flat.  All three actors sported authentic British accents that still made for articulate dialogue that sounded quite natural. I was particularly impressed by the work of Nick Izzo, the show’s director who moved into the role of Tom at the last minute when Jeff McVann was unable to continue. There are not too many directors who can perform a major role as deftly as Izzo did here. My only problem with Skylight is that both Basis Kapolka (Kyra) and Nick Izzo appeared to be too young to play middle aged folks. But, that is a small thing that was overcome with the truthful performances by Izzo and Kapolka. There was a spark between them that hints at former love affair between the characters. The two land their monologues with grace and conviction.  David Hare’s work is in good hands here. Get to the former Stage Left Theatre – now know as the Second Stage – to see a gem of a play – Skylight.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: May 28, 2011

For more info checkout the Skylight page on www.theatreinchicago.com

At the Second Stage Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL, call 312-787-9384, www.appetitetheatre.com, tickets $20, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through June 18, 2011