Tom Sergeant, a wealthy, middle-aged businessman, and the much younger Kyra Hollis, his former employee, had a long, ardent love affair until his wife discovered their relationship. Kyra walked out, and a year after his wife’s death, Tom unexpectedly pays a visit to his ex, who now teaches underprivileged children and chooses to live in poverty. Can incompatible values and opposing worldviews be bridged if the passion remains?
That is the question at the heart of David Hare’s 1996 Oliver Award-winning
, which opens at Palm Beach Dramaworks on February 7 and runs through March 1, with specially priced previews on February 5 and 6. The play is directed by the multi-talented Vanessa Morosco, familiar to PBD audiences for her roles in
The House of Blue Leaves
In the course of this funny, searing, and romantic work, the complexity of Kyra and Tom’s relationship is revealed as they lay bare hurts and recriminations, and discuss love and death, grief and betrayal, and, especially, social and political issues. Hare is renowned as a political playwright and an ardent liberal, and the play takes a stark look at Britain in the wake of Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister. There’s no doubt which character’s politics reflect his own, yet Hare doesn’t stack the deck in favor of the idealistic Kyra. Both she and Tom are presented as three-dimensional human beings whose disparate journeys lead them to their irreconcilable perspectives.
Several years before the premiere of
, Hare wrote in an essay: “The job of the theatre is not to trap the audience in a stale political rhetoric which will be dead in ten days, but to liberate them from it by showing human beings who are more than slogans, who are seen and felt to be so much more than the nonsense that sometimes comes out of our mouths.”
features Sarah Street (PBD debut) as Kyra, Peter Simon Hilton as Tom, and Harrison Bryan (PBD debut) as Edward Sergeant, Tom’s son. Scenic design is by Bill Clarke, costume design is by Brian O’Keefe, lighting design is by Donald Edmund Thomas, and sound design is by Roger Arnold (PBD debut).
received its world premiere at England’s National Theatre in 1995, and then moved on to the West End and Broadway. That production starred Michael Gambon and Lia Williams, and was directed by Richard Eyre. In 2014, Stephen Daldry directed a new West End production that starred Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy (who had first played Tom in a 1997 London revival directed by Eyre). Daldry’s production came to Broadway in 2015 and received a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.