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A: David Hare Pf: 1995, London Pb: 1995 G: Drama in 2 acts S: London flat, 1990s C: 2m, 1fKyra Hollis, a 30-year-old teacher at a rough school in the East End of London, lives in a shabby flat in north-west London. She has a surprise visit from 18-year-old Edward Sergeant, with whose family until a few years previously Kyra was very close. Edward's mother died of cancer a year ago, and he now seeks Kyra's help to save his father Tom, a 50-year-old successful hotelier and restaurateur, from his misery. Unexpectedly, Tom calls round. He speaks of his wife Alice's illness, how she lay there, looking at birds through the skylight. They recall how Kyra on arriving in London had applied for a job as waitress in one of Tom's restaurants, how Alice had invited her to run the place, how Kyra fell in love with Tom, leading to a six-year affair, which ended when Alice found out. Tom admits that he has not been in touch for three years because he has been plagued by guilt but has missed Kyra terribly. Their confessions lead to a passionate embrace, and Kyra invites Tom to stay the night. Buoyant after their sex, Tom is planning a new future for Kyra and him, intending to take her away from her cold and ugly flat, but Kyra is committed to her work as a teacher and refuses to consider leaving her shabby surroundings. Tom condemns her idealism: ‘Loving the people's an easy project for you. Loving a person…now that's something different.’ Recognizing the gulf between them, they part for ever. The following morning Edward arrives with a luxurious breakfast for Kyra.

A: David Hare Pf: 1995, London Pb: 1995 G: Drama in 2 acts S: London flat, 1990s C: 2m, 1f

In this analytic drama, which devotes much time to revisiting the past, there is almost no external action: everything is focused on the relationship between Tom and Kyra, which reflects the gulf between two elements in post-Thatcher Britain: those who believe they are contributing through ‘the creation of wealth’ and those who by setting themselves possibly only ‘one private target’ hope to change the world for the better.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

Reference entries

David Hare (b. 1947) English dramatist and director

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