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Review: APT's Greta Wohlrabe shines in 'Skylight'

By William R. Wineke, Special to Channel 3000
Published On: Jul 29 2012 03:08:48 PM CDT

SPRING GREEN, Wis. -

Two days after seeing American Players Theatre's production of David Hare's "Skylight," I'm still not sure whether I liked the play. 

But I am still astonished by the performance of Greta Wohlrabe, one of three actors in the production (Brian Mani and Christopher Sheard are the other two).

The play takes place in the small, cold apartment of Kyra, a seemingly struggling school teacher in London. She is soon visited by Sheard, a young man, Edward, for whom Kyra was once nanny, and who stops by to ask why she left his parents household so suddenly.

Soon after, Mani, who plays the role of Tom, Edward's father, also shows up unexpectedly and it becomes evident quickly that the reason Kyra left so abruptly is that Edward's wife learned he and Kyra had been sleeping together.

Alas, said mother is now dead and both father and son appear to want Kyra back in their lives -- and on their terms.

Kyra, who once rode in Tom's limousines, now takes a cross-town bus and hour and half to her school, lives in a freezing apartment, and assures Tom that she has found meaning in her life, if not happiness.

Tom will have no part of it. He notes that space heaters are not only plentiful but inexpensive and, contrary to the one in Kyra's apartment, they also "heat."

Kyra accuses Tom of being like many modern multi-millionaires, who not only want to accumulate vast wealth but also want to be appreciated as public benefactors in doing so. At this point, it might be well to note that "Skylight" was first produced in 1995, long before Mitt Romney and Bain Capital became part of the national public dialogue.

I'm not sure the plot actually makes sense to me. But, as I said, I was mesmerized by the performance of Greta Wohlrabe, who is beginning her second year with APT. The beauty of APT's Touchstone Theatre is the audience sits close enough to see the actors' expressions, and I think Wohlrabe might have conveyed all the drama of her role while seated and without ever raising her voice if only the audience could watch her face. She is magnificent.

Sheard is making his APT debut this year and does a creditable job in conveying the innocence and would-be worldliness of a young rich kid trying to find himself. Mani, a theater veteran, carries out the tycoon role with ease -- though you have to wonder if Tom is actually as shallow as he seems in this play.

All in all, this is a production worth seeing.

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