Thursday, October 23, 2014

Skylight, David Hare

No one writes dialog in English better than an English writer.  I just saw Skylight by David Hare, one England's very best playwrights who perhaps writes dialog even better than Tom Stoppard  (who after all is not a native English speaker -- but brilliant all the same). This was a National Theatre Live showing, not a simulcast but a live performance with Esther Freud as the intermission ineterviewer talking to David Hare about this reprise of hin 1996 play. 

This is a love story, of its own sort, one of the few plays Hare has written with just three people on stage in an intimate drama.  He has written much that is historic and politica. This play is political too but mainly personal. The dialog is brilliantly delivered (as directed by Stephen Daldry).  Bill Nighy plays the one time lover, whose wife has died and who is ready to reignite a love affairs with a woman who walked away and totally changed her way of life. The man is a selfish shit as is said many times, not only by his ex-lover but by his son who visits also. Bill Nighy played the same role in the first production in 1996.  He is a brilliant actor; it was a wonderful performance (and he wore a magnificently elegant bespoke suit and coat), but I couldn't help thinking he must have been so much more appropriately cast 18 years ago. He is well into his 70s and emaciated. I couldn't help thinking if they were reprising a play with a woman in such a role she wouldn't stand a chance of being recast 18 years later.  Men can get away with being sexy at that age but not women.  

Carrie Mulligan was wonderful. Although I enjoyed all the brilliant repartee, I was not truly satisfied with the ending. Feminist that i am, I nevertheless did not want her to cling to her high minded teacherly vocation, and I wanted her to be more truly loving of Nighy's very flawed (often insufferable - although enormously clever) persona.  But that's my feeling. I guess I still believe "amour omni vincit". It was a wonderful production and brilliantly acted.



Lynn Guardino said...

I loved the production too June. What a talented cast and such great writing. I looked for you in the packed theater and am sorry I missed you.

June Calender said...

Glad you saw it Lynn, I hope we can have a moment to discuss it, such a strong drama always leaves me with things to say.