Skylight, David Hare's play that won the 1996 Olivier Award as Best Play in London, is already visible on the New York horizon for late in 1996.
Director Richard Eyre, who runs London's National Theatre, anticipates the play will be done on Broadway rather than at Lincoln Center. "Robert Fox is producing it in London and would probably produce it in association with The Shuberts over here," he says. "We'd probably go for a Shubert theatre because we've had quite a long association with them. They did 'Indiscretions' and 'An Inspector Calls.'"
"Skylight" stars Michael Gambon and Lea Williams--and, says Eyre, "I hope, God and Equity willing, they will be doing it over here."
Gambon's classic title performance in the TV miniseries, "The Singing Detective," caused an increase in his big-screen visibility ("A Man of No Importance," "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover," "Toys"). Williams is known for the London "Oleanna."
"Essentially," says Eyre, the play is about two characters. One is a businessman in his late 50s--a rich, successful entrepeneur. The other--a woman 25 years younger than he--is a teacher and dedicated her life to the service of others. They once had an affair, and he has returned to resume it. 'Skylight' is about romantic passion--but, also, ways of life. His life--the life of an entrepeneur, making money--is the complete opposite of hers." This is the fifth, and latest, Hare & Eyre joint endeavor. The first, "The Great Exhibition," occurred 20 years ago. During the past five or six years, the two have been focused on a controversial trilogy of plays that depicted various aspects of contemporary English life. "Racing Demon" took on the Anglican Church, caught between empty rhetoric and social action; "Murmurring Judges" examined the legal system; "The Absence of War" explored politics.
"I think it's unlikely the other two will be coming over," Eyre admits. "They are much more localized and less universal than 'Racing Demon,' which somehow, though it is about the behavior of the Church of England, has a certain universality. Also, it was better received than these other two plays."
Eyre's first order of nonadministrative business at the National will be to direct "The Prince's Play," derived from a play by Victor Hugo called "La Roi S'amuse (The King Amuses Himself)." "You think you don't know it, but you do if you know opera. It's the play from which 'Rigoletto' was taken. Tony Harrison's done an adaptation set in England at the end of the 19th century."