BWW Review: Kelly Pekar Shines in Mad Cow's SKYLIGHT
All's fair in love and politics. Maybe that's not the correct saying, but it accurately describes David Hare's SKYLIGHT. Currently playing at Mad Cow Theatre, this play focuses on the complexities of the heart. It is dramatic and thought-provoking enough to leave audiences thinking about the plot days after.
Every action has consequences. Despite their age difference, Kyra and Tom have an affair that lasts some time. When it ends the effects ripple and affect everyone their relationship touched, but not in the way you'd expect. This is not a drama about the dangers of infidelity. It's more complex and emotional than that. As with any broken relationship, there are a lot of emotions stemming from resentment, guilt, and judgement. Years later, after Tom's wife died, he shows up at Kyra apartment unexpectedly and all those feelings come out.
David Hare's storytelling is unrivaled. The characters are so rich and brought to life in a way that their backstories exist to enrich the whole plot. For everything that happens leading up to Tom and Kyra's affair and everything afterwards, it feel natural and believable. I felt lost sometimes as the conversations twisted to different topics without knowing how we got there. Despite feeling lost, I always understood "the why" and found myself staying up at night thinking about Tom and Kyra's conversations.
Kyra Hollis is a complex character. Kelly Pekar plays Kyra and does so in a way to bring the audience along her journey. Though she is younger than I expected, Pekar speaks in a way that makes Kyra seem like she's lived through two lifetimes. Pekar as Kyra feels natural with a chip on her shoulder. She balances guilt and pride masterfully. She even makes a spaghetti dinner onstage complete with fresh sauce without dropping a beat. (Side note: the sauce smelled delicious and if you don't eat before the show, you may find your tummy grumbling through the second half.)
The relationship between Kyra and Tom is magnetic. Kyra instantly lights up and is drawn to Tom as soon as he enters the room. They seemingly pick up exactly where they left off, without any of the traditional cheater drama dialogue. Kyra and Tom bring out the best and the worst in each other. The plot also highlights the varying moral interpretations between generations. This message is eerily similar to issues that divide people today. I wouldn't say it is the difference between old and young or rich and poor, but a combination of opposing ideologies.
Jerome Davis plays Tom as an enigmatic bloke. It's hard to feel sympathetic to Tom because of the decisions that he's made leading up to this interaction with KyrA. Davis plays Tom as a victim and it's hard to sympathize with him. Sometimes he's a gentle soul, but other times he's a raving old man too hurt to form linear thoughts. Hare's words are plentiful for Tom and Davis delivers them all well.
It is hard to understand the attraction between Pekar's Kyra and Davis' Tom. It's very clear that this is not a physical attraction. The chemistry exists as oil and water, where the two belong together, but can never truly mix.
Then there's Tom's son Edward, played by Zach Lane. Edward bookends Kyra's Tom interactions. He's a kind lost boy probably destined to make the same mistakes as his father. It becomes clear that Edward has father issues as he teary-eyed pleas with Kyra to help him with his father. There is an awkward attraction between Kyra and Edward that does not quite make sense. Lane is good as Edward, though somewhat shouty at times. He is the kind, lost young person that Hare meant for Edward to be.
Everything that Kyra and Tom argue about are thought-starters. At one point, Tom criticizes Kyra for working in an underprivileged school. He gives some good reasons why she shouldn't. And Kyra gives really good reasons why she should. It's conversations like these that need to happen between people with differing opinions. My take-away is whether or not you agree with how someone lives their life, it is what they choose and that is not something to be judged.
SKYLIGHT is a heavy, yet light piece that is a thought-provoking start to the summer. Directed by Bobbie Bell, SKYLIGHT runs at Mad Cow Theatre from now through July 9th. For tickets and more information visit www.madcowtheatre.com.
Photo Credit: Tom Hurst