Review: ACT's SKYLIGHT Provokes, Ends, and then Ends Again

By: Sep. 14, 2018
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Review: ACT's SKYLIGHT Provokes, Ends, and then Ends Again
Elinor Gunn and Daniel Gerroll in
Skylight at ACT.
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

David Hare's "Skylight", currently playing at ACT, is a play teaming with recriminations over infidelities and the struggles of class at the heart of the demise of two people's relationship. It's packed with wonderful moments for both actors to make equally compelling arguments over who's at fault. Who's right and who's wrong. Who's got the moral high ground and who's grounded in reality. To the point that by the end you can see the good and bad in each and walk away with something to think and talk about. And then Hare adds a second ending that I can only describe as the Hollywood RomCom ending to drive his own point home, a point we already got, in a way that is at best superfluous and at worst just plain confusing.

In the play we focus on Kira (Elinor Gunn) a 30-something woman in a tiny run down flat who out of the blue gets a visit from the past, Edward (Michael Monicatti), the young man just graduated from high school who Kira knew through her close relationship with his parents a few years prior. Edward tells Kira of his Mother's passing from cancer and how she should reconnect with his Father to get him out of his routine. And while it's not completely spoken Edward alludes that he is aware of the affair she had with his Father. Later that evening Edward's Father Tom (Daniel Gerroll) arrives at her door with a bottle of whiskey hoping to rehash old feelings and what follows is a feast of words as we discover the events that lead Kira to Tom and his family and eventually to her leaving.

Director John Langs does his usual brilliant job of creating the perfect pace of the piece so as to make us forget we're watching a play but more spying on a couple in their home in real life. And the wonderful set from Julia Hayes Welch with its framework of copper piping to create the indication of walls lends itself perfectly to that voyeuristic feel as we all now have x-ray vision and can just see into the flat.

And while I appreciate Mr. Monicatti for his work in the role, his presence and appeal is great, I question the need for his character as he seems to be there for exposition at the top and the aforementioned superfluous coda at the end. Because why? We need to end on a happy note all tied up in a really shiny bow rather than the dingy thought-provoking bow of an ending we got minutes before? And I do mean minutes since the final scene only lasts for at most five. I don't get it.

As for the rest of the piece, the back and forth power exchange between Gunn and Gerroll is excellent. They never go to place of full power exchange save for a few powerful monologues where the actors get to let go, but rather play with the power of the scene like a ball on a string. Even if they've tossed the ball to the other, they still have that slight connection to it making for a quite honest and real conversation.

An interesting piece with some thoughtful moments that just feels like it didn't trust its own message and felt it needed to beat us over the head with it during its second confusing ending. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give ACT's production of "Skylight" a thought provoked and then annoyed MEH+. Authors should put more faith in the intelligence of their audience and let us go home a little earlier.

"Skylight" performs at ACT through September 30th. For tickets or information contact the ACT box office at 206-292-7676 or visit them online at


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