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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

APT's Emotionally Raw Skylight

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Life for many can be an emotional train wreck, a collision of experiences and ideologies from which we stumble to pick up the pieces and get back on track. Try as they might, the three characters in American Players Theatre's striking production of Sir David Hare's Skylight see their own efforts at reconciliation largely derail, with only modest hope for the future remaining.

Kyra Hollis (APT newcomer Greta Wohlrabe) is an East London schoolteacher occupying a shabby flat after days filled with uncooperative, unrepentant students. Tom Sergeant (Brian Mani) is blustery, edgy and very wealthy restaurateur whose life has been an emotional shambles since his wife Alice died of cancer the year before. Kyra once worked for Tom, lived with their family and had a six-year affair with her employer, all of which ended abruptly when Alice found out.


One cold December night, both Tom and his son Edward (Christopher Sheard) visit Kyra in her flat at different times. Each feels abandoned in his own way—Tom as lover, Edward as brother—by Kyra, who had served as the emotional nucleus around which each orbited. Kyra has moved on, socially but not economically, whereas the other two have not. As in real life, the ensuing attempts at reconciliation meet with mixed results.


The cast holds the emotionally raw work together as well as anyone could in real life, and each is a standout in their clearly defined characters. Wohlrabe gains the advantage, perhaps, due to the greater complexity of her role, but the 160-minute work bristles with emotional truisms that help set the Laurence Olivier Award-winning play apart from the rest of APT's seasonal fare.


Skylight
runs through Oct. 20 at American Players Touchstone Theatre in Spring Green.