Last night I was lucky enough to see an encore screening of Skylight at the Tyneside. this particular NT Live performance has been so popular that both the original and encore screening were sold out and a second encore screening has been scheduled! In the interval interview, David Hare talked about how important NT Live is to him and I can only agree; without screenings like this I would have missed out on a whole heap of productions I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this year. Skylight was of particular interest to me because it was my first time seeing a Hare and a Daldry (also, who doesn’t want to see Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan do amazing work on stage?!).
I had an inkling I was going to enjoy Skylight (spoilers: I loved it) because I have a love for 2 or 3 handers. I feel that plays with intimate casts that only stay in the one setting generate this kind of intensity and focus that you can lose with a larger company or a less confined play world.
Skylight did not disappoint.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen something that made me feel like I want to wrap myself up in the characters and their lives but I felt like that last night. Nighy and Mulligan were exceptional. They made everything seem so natural and gave a really lovely expert flow to the play. There was a gorgeous moment in the first act which I adored: before feelings had been spoken there was a moment where Kyra (Mulligan) put a wine glass down on a table with Tom’s (Nighy) fingers less than an inch from hers. There was this pause and this gorgeous close up as he waited and the tentatively reached out to brush her hand but he didn’t quite touch her and she moved the glass away, walking over to the other side of the room to do something else. I love hands. I think they’re a really underutilised expressive force that far too neglected.
A little niggle I had was that, because of the nature of the play and the fact it is two people in a room, the good people of NT Live decided to just primarily switch between Nighy and Mulligan’s faces. I could see they were moving about but you couldn’t always tell where and I found that a little bit frustrating because you lost a bit of the directing. However, Stephen Daldry's directing was superb. Nothing felt overdone or pointless; it all felt very natural (there's that word again - it's the only thing I can really use to describe the piece. I felt like I was in these characters' lives!).
I just really wish I’d been able to see this onstage, in the flesh, in London. I think it could have been a phenomenal watch had I been able to. Skylight is potentially my favourite NT Live screening. I urge you to catch encore screenings of it if you can!
Lots of love,
Details of National Theatre Live encore performances can be found on their website.