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David Hare & “Skylight” Essay

“Skylight” by David Hare is a post 1914, post Thatcher drama, dealing with matters of life, love and circumstance. It is set in a small, well lived in, flat, Northwest London, where Kyra, a middle aged, self-reliant teacher, lives. Tom, a guilt ridden, controlling, entrepreneur, randomly appears, at Kyra’s doorstep. He casually invades her privacy, wanting to rekindle past love, when success was his, after a three-year separation. The stubborn pair hold the stage for the entire 2 1/2 hours tearing away at each other’s deceptions and hypocrisies, except for brief but significant, visit’s by Tom’s rebellious, insecure, son Edward.

This play is very contemporary, dealing with issues relevant at the time. The time is post Thatcher, although Tom still is part of the Conservative, right wing system, working for himself. Kyra, on the contrary, is a left wing, labour supporter, who helps other people. Tom is not able to put passion before political values, whereas Kyra is. David Hare structures the play quite effectively, using 2 acts and 4 scenes. The play is detailed, and probes the depths of intimacy between the 4 characters-one of whom is Alice, who we never see, but whose presence is always lurking in the form of guilt.

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The emotional scar has been made before the play even starts. The memory of Alice remains a sad spectre for Tom and Kyra. Edward comes right at the beginning, which is an introduction to Tom because it brings back all the memories of him. I think that when Tom reappears, Kyra may have doubted leaving him because she loves him, but she also hates part of him as well and from pg. 56 she realises that they have such different lifestyles, and are utterly incompatible. Tom: ‘… I was thinking, I could get used to this. Maybe this area isn’t so bad. Over there, I was thinking, I’m going to put my telly…

‘ Kyra: ‘Have you still got that big one? ‘ Tom: ‘Oh no. It’s much bigger now… It’s going to take up most of that wall… ‘ Tom just decides that he is going to move in, without Kyra’s consent. Kyra doesn’t actually say ‘no’ though, but that is because she knows, from then on that it is all just a fantasy, she is the one in control because she realises how desperate he is for her. Neither of them can cope with Tom’s depression, which comes and goes with monotonous regularity, so if they stayed together, Kyra would be crushed by Tom and it would all end in disaster.

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