Christian Parker is the director of Skylight.
It is a mystery to none of us that we live in polarized political times. Listening, considering an alternate point of view, and empathizing with those who have different values, seem in short supply. What is the effect of this polarization on us as individuals? What is the cost in our relationships? How have we distanced ourselves from those who disagree with us, while we look to like-minded friends and the media to confirm our biases? How immovable are we? How willing to learn, to change our minds?
Twenty-five years ago, the eminent British playwright David Hare wrote a deceptively simple chamber play that looks at the ways in which two people who have loved one another deeply struggle to find their way back to one another and to overcome the essential differences in their values and worldviews to do so. The year is 1995 and Tom is a self-made fifty-year-old restaurant and hotel mogul whose rise to wealth and notoriety coincided with the economic policies of Thatcher’s England of the 1980s. Kyra is twenty years his junior, born of privilege, but committed to living a life of service to those less fortunate than she. They loved one another deeply in the past, despite the fraught circumstances of their affair. And now that they have come back together, they must try to surmount their fundamental differences if there is any hope for them to move forward together. Neither one is right. Neither is wrong. Like all of us, they are contradictory and complicated.
Known as a political playwright, David Hare has written perhaps his most compassionate, nuanced, and humane play in Skylight. These characters are richly layered, never predictable, and gifted with words. As you watch them spar and struggle to listen to one another, I hope you will be as seduced by their arguments, language, and vulnerability as we have in exploring this extraordinary text. Skylight invites the audience into a triangle of intimate, urgent relationships and to reflect on how we might have allowed our own biases and blindness to alternate points of view to hold us back from love.