Friday November 24th 2017

“Skylight”

Rook, Johnson vMany theater audiences are not aware a type of theater known as “Chamber Theater”., although they are of Chamber Music- they are very much alike in that they are an intimate way of reaching an smaller audience with either music ( in the case of Chamber music) or with a story that makes more sens to the viewer in an intimate form. The present production on the stage at Court Theatre on the campus of The University of Chicago, David Hare’s “Skylight” is such a piece. The story is about two people ( although there is a third character); a couple who enjoyed a passionate long term love affair that abruptly ended. This story is about the man’s attempt to rekindle this  love affair and their story- who they are, their differences and the past, present and future, now that conditions have changed.

Directed by William Brown, new to this theater but well known around the Chicago theater scene, this is a tight and terse story that is well choreographed on a massive set by Todd Rosenthal. For those who know the Court, it has a large space stage with no curtain and for each production it is sort of rebuilt. This set is a cold-water, loft-type apartment with a massive living room/kitchen/dining area and doors that take us to the bedroom, the bathroom and out into the hallway. There is a high ceiling with what appears to be a “Skylight” and glass windows on all sides. The time is Winter and at one point, we watch a snowfall that is almost hypnotic in not only the visual but how Brown uses it to get the playwrights points across to us. Jesse Klug( lights) and Andrew Hansen (sound) along with the  costumes (Rachel Anne Healy) make for the complete production in its many values. The only person not mentioned in the credits is the prop designer ( or as I like to call them procurers) who has amassed an amazing assortments of perfect props.

The actors and the script itself are the keys to this story telling adventure into what might be called  “why opposites attract”, in that our story involves a wealth businessman Tom Sergeant ( brilliantly played by Phillip Earl Johnson) who comes back to his former lover, Kyra Hollis ( the enchanting Laura Rook) after his wife passes away. Kyra was his employee and his lover. She had left his employ and his bed to restart her life as a teacher to help raise the minds of the lower class pupils that today’s society ignores ( or forgets). This entire night, one of each former lover trying to express their particular stand on the class difference in  the world as well as their own ideology and their extreme differences in attitude. While during the course of the evening, they do make love, which shows the amount of passion that was being held within, but as the hours go on and the snow begins to fall, each begins to express why their relationship failed in the first place. Hare’s work is as close to reality today a sit was when written and performed back in 1995 ( which seems like a long time ago)

There is one more characters,Tom’s son, Edward ( deftly handled by Matt Farabee) who comes to Kyra in the onset of the story ( in ct I) to advise her that his mother has passed and that his father is  very different and lonely. He returns in the very last scene, one of great surprise and comic touches to end the play. What he brings to this scene is some of the most amazing props I have ever seen for one particular scene- and very accurate indeed. Not wanting to spoil this special scene, I will tell you that the set-up is that Tom and Kyra have what appears to be a door closing scene, and then the morning comes and so does Edward.

“Skylight” will continue at The Court Theatre located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue on the campus of The University of Chicago ( plenty of indoor parking-FREE) through February 10th with performances:

Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $45 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 773-753-4472 or online at www.CourtTheatre.org

Since this is a University Theater, they do offer half price “RUSH” tickets for every performance, subject to availability and of course on DAY OF PERFORMANCE ONLY!

To see what others think, visit www.theatreinchicago.com , go to review round-up and click on “Skylight”skylight_show_1

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