Skylight Review – Clashes of Classes Brings Fire and Passion

Palm Beach Dramaworks is terrific theater.  Every production they present has its own personality and perspective.  There is always something to talk about after the show has ended.  Skylight is no different.

Skylight by David Hare, running until March 1st, 2020, is one of those productions that pulls you in from the first moment and keeps you captive until the very last scene.  The talented Vanessa Morosco is director of this deep, intimate production.

Sarah Street and Peter Simon Hilton

Two lovers come together after several years apart.  Tom Sergeant (Peter Simon Hilton), a wealthy, middle-aged self-made businessman with successful restaurants with friends in many places, had previously been involved in an intimate, emotionally-charged 6-year relationship with Kyra Hollis (Sarah Street).   She is a former employee of Tom’s but now teaches underprivileged children in a very questionable neighborhood, and chooses to live a life in meager surroundings.

Peter Simon Hilton, Sarah Street and Harrison Bryan

When Tom was married and having his affair with Kyra, his wife was dying of cancer.  Kyra walked away when she thought it was overwhelming for her and they went their separate ways.

Tom’s son was always in Kyra’s heart and he visits her to ‘catch up’ and talks about whether she has been in touch with his father.  The relationship between father and son, Edward (Harrison Bryan), has always been strained, but he feels close to Kyra.

Peter Simon Hilton and Sarah Street

Later that day, Tom unexpectedly comes to see Kyra and we learn, as we most often do, time changes many things.  Can incompatible values and opposing worldviews be bridged if the passion remains?  This is the heart of the production.

In the course of this funny, searing, and romantic work, the complexity of Kyra and Tom’s relationship is revealed as they lay bare hurts and recriminations, and discuss love and death, grief and betrayal, and, especially, social and political issues. Hare is renowned as a political playwright and an ardent liberal, and the play takes a stark look at Britain in the wake of Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister.

There’s no doubt which character’s politics reflect his own, yet Hare doesn’t stack the deck in favor of the idealistic Kyra. Both she and Tom are presented as three-dimensional human beings whose disparate journeys lead them to their irreconcilable perspectives.  These 2 actors are so real in their presence on stage, you feel as if you are in on their conversation and can relate to so much of their conflicts, in life, in beliefs and in their feelings.

Skylight was the winner of the 1996 Oliver Award for Best New Play but it feels as if David Hare is responding directly to our current polarized political time.

Scenic design is by Bill Clarke, costume design is by Brian O’Keefe, lighting design is by Donald Edmund Thomas, and sound design is by Roger Arnold (PBD debut). 

All photos courtesy of Tim Stephien

Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

Sarah Street and Harrison Bryan

Evening performances are Wednesday, Thursday, and select Sundays at 7:30PM, and Friday and Saturday at 8PM. Matinee performances are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2PM. Post-performance discussions follow Wednesday matinee and Sunday evening performances. Individual tickets are $77, with specially priced preview tickets at $57 and opening night tickets (Feb. 8th) at $92. Student tickets are available for $15, and Pay Your Age tickets are available for those 18-40. Tickets for educators are half price with proper ID (other restrictions apply). Group rates for 20 or more and discounted season subscriptions are also available.

The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org. You can order online 24 hours a day. 

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