SKYLIGHT: HIT PLAY COMES TO TORONTO
Written by: Nicole Stamp
Tom is a wealthy restaurateur; for years, Kyra was his employee and his mistress. When Tom’s wife discovered their affair, Kyra abruptly disappeared and began a new life teaching troubled students. Tonight, a year after his wife’s death, Tom unexpectedly bursts into Kyra’s flat, desperate to win her back. Kyra has evolved strong social justice leanings and adopted a frugal lifestyle; Tom is capitalism personified, dripping money, entitlement, and, somehow, charm. They have nothing in common, yet they are still deeply in love. Their reunion- by turns hilarious, romantic, furious, and tender- is the story of Skylight, a critically acclaimed play by David Hare.
Hare is a British writer with two Academy Award nominations for his skillful screen adaptations of The Hours and The Reader. Before those, he earned tremendous applause for 1995’s Skylight, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Play of the Year, Britain’s highest award in theatre. In 2015, Skylight was revived on Broadway, starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, and its seven Tony Award nominations prove the timeless appeal of this searing play.
Skylight is now set to sweep Toronto this summer, in a highly anticipated, all-star production by Hidden Cove Productions.
World-renowned director and A-list acting coach Larry Moss directs. There’s another name you’ve heard at the Academy Awards: Helen Hunt and Hilary Swank both thanked him in their Oscar acceptance speeches. And Moss’ nuanced stage production of The Syringa Tree, a memoir of childhood during apartheid, won an Obie Award for Best Play, a Drama Desk Award, and many others.
Moss lists Skylight among his favourite plays: “The language in this play is hot! I saw it on Broadway in 1996, and I remember feeling waves of energy coming over the footlights, from the ideas and the relationships- it just set me on fire. I’m an acting teacher, and I keep giving Skylight to actors because it’s so rich- it’s political, romantic, psychological… and because the thrill of a great play with great actors is what makes me live!” Here, his actors are great indeed:
Lindsay G. Merrithew plays bombastic-yet-heartbroken businessman Tom Sergeant. You may recognize Merrithew from TV roles on Suits (USA Network) and Traders (Global); he’s also an alumnus of the Shaw Festival and the Juilliard School. Moreover, as co-founder of wellness giant Stott Pilates, Merrithew has undertaken decades of real-life character study to play a successful entrepreneur. In person, he radiates confidence, and yet- perhaps because he rarely sits still- there’s a hint of complex vulnerability, making him perfectly suited to embody Tom.
Kyra Hollis is played by Stratford Festival mainstay Sara Topham, whose sensitivity, precision, and comedic timing have invigorated classic roles, including Juliet, Cordelia in King Lear, and Rosalind in As You Like It. Topham is fluent with dense Shakespearian verse, but finds modern dialogue equally fascinating: “Hare’s punctuation is very specific. Something that looks like a question might have a period at the end, like this: (flatly) “Are you going to do it like that.” You realize that it’s actually an instruction, pretending to be a question! We’ve all been irritated by that,” she laughs. “It’s lots of fun to play.”
Tim Dowler-Coltman rounds out the cast as Tom’s son; to Moss, he brings “vulnerability, energy, and power to the role”.
In its sharp, intriguing portraits of two very different people, Skylight deftly illustrates the fundamental ideological differences between society’s left and right wings, but the magnetic attraction between Kyra and Tom roots the story in potent romance. It’s sure to impress Toronto audiences, just as it thrilled in New York and London.
Skylight runs June 10 – July 9 at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre.
Receive a 20% discount off the ticket price. Use promo code SKYLIGHT20.
For tickets, visit the Canadian Stage box office or http://www.skylightto.com.