Theater Talk: David Hare and Stephen Daldry on “Skylight”

>>ANNOUNCER: Coming up on “Theater Talk”…>>HARE: When I arrived in this town this time and walked into Times Square and saw the insanity — And you kind of go, “This has got to be sort of the worst place in the world to try and present a serious play. Why would you do it here? It’s Disneyland.”>>RIEDEL: [ Chuckling ] Yes.>>ANNOUNCER: “Theater Talk” is made possible in part by…>>TOM: You could never accept the nature of business. I mean, finally, that’s why you had to leave. [ Light laughter ]>>KYRA: Well, I must say –>>TOM: I mean –>>KYRA: I never knew that was the reason.>>TOM: All right, I’m sorry. [ Laughter ]>>KYRA: I never knew that was why I had to leave.>>TOM: I put it badly. [ Laughter ]>>KYRA: Badly? You did. I thought I left because your wife discovered I’d been sleeping with you for over six years.>>TOM: I mean, well, yes, that, as well. That played a part in it. [ Laughter ]>>HASKINS: From New York City, this is “Theater Talk.” I’m Susan Haskins.>>RIEDEL: And I’m Michael Riedel of the New York Post. Now, Susan, one of my favorite playwrights is David Hare. And I have many plays of his that I like a lot, but I have to say, at the top of my list, ever since I saw it in the early ’90s, I believe, is a beautiful, beautiful play called “Skylight” that has been revived on Broadway, starring our friend Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, giving a superb performance. It is directed brilliantly, as always — I don’t think the man ever goes wrong — by Stephen Daldry.>>DALDRY: I’m not sure about that, but thank you.>>RIEDEL: Welcome, Stephen. And welcome back to “Theater Talk,” David Hare.>>HARE: Thank you very much.>>RIEDEL: And congratulations on the success of this play.>>HARE: Thank you.>>RIEDEL: So, if you can take us back, David, what was the inspiration for this play? I mean, I’ve always heard it was based on somebody you knew.>>HARE: No, I started — It’s true that my romantic life had taken a turn for the better in the early ’90s. And it happened that the women with whom I fell in love, who became my wife — her previous husband was a businessman. And so I began to learn a little bit about business and to understand something about business ’cause, by our nature, artists don’t meet business folk very often, except in adversarial ways. But actually to sort of understand the culture of business was exciting for me. But I also wanted to write a full-bloodedly romantic play in which romantic love was really benign and not — I suppose in my own life, I’d always associated passion with turbulence…>>RIEDEL: Mm-hmm.>>HARE: …and with upset and hurt and pain. And because I was going through a period in which passion, on the contrary, was nothing to do with turbulence but was to do with fulfillment, I suppose that probably moved me to write the play, as well.>>DALDRY: Well, the play is quite turbulent and…>>RIEDEL: Yeah, I was going to say.>>HASKINS: Yes, and it’s certainly turbulent for everybody but Bill Nighy.>>RIEDEL: I don’t exactly think of it as a Valentine’s Day card [laughing] the play, David.>>HARE: No, but it’s not a bad date play, is it?>>DALDRY: Do you think?>>HARE: I think it’s a good date play.>>RIEDEL: Why?>>HARE: Because there is no doubt that both — everybody — all the characters in the play value romantic love above everything else in the world.>>DALDRY: Oh, I see.>>HASKINS: Oh, how interesting.>>HARE: And it’s taken to be very important.>>RIEDEL: Yes. That’s true.>>HARE: And worth fighting over, worth fighting over and worth sacrificing for.>>RIEDEL: And we should say the play is about a very successful owner of restaurants and hotels, and he’s trying to rekindle a relationship he had with a much younger woman, played by Carey Mulligan. I think the play is a heartbreaking play because, to me, it’s two people who really, really are in love, but can’t come back together again. And that’s why, I think…>>HASKINS: Spoiler alert.>>RIEDEL: …you get the sobs. You got the sobs in the theater the night I was there ’cause you want them to be together. There is — Even though they’re — they have different points of view of the world — he’s the businessman, and she’s a liberal teacher, but they feel that they should be together, don’t you think?>>DALDRY: I think their relationship was obviously — and one of the things you discover in the play — was so strong and so potent and so explosive that when they get back together again, of course, all those elements are still on fire. Whether at the end of the play, whether it’s intended from David’s writing or from my production, that you want them to be back together again, I don’t know. I would hope it’s more complex than that. I certainly think that you feel you definitely — and particularly between those two actors, you get a real genuine sense of the relationship that they had and the relationship that, in a sense, could be, whether it’s the right one at this point in time.>>HASKINS: And you have the third character.>>RIEDEL: The son.>>HASKINS: Because I will say that in act 2, in his entrance, that’s where I wept.>>HARE: [ Laughs ]>>HASKINS: There is some casualty there, yes.>>HARE: Yes, completely. I think that there is something extraordinary in Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy together, where you do — or I feel the layers of their relationship incredibly convincingly — not that it hasn’t always been well played. It’s always been well played, this play. You know, this is a play that was first played by Michael Gambon and Lia Williams.>>RIEDEL: Yeah.>>HARE: So, we’re never gonna say it wasn’t brilliant played. They look so convincing together — Bill and Carey — that you believe in their history.>>DALDRY: Mm-hmm.>>HARE: And I think that does give the play a tremendous depth.>>DALDRY: And we lucked out with Matthew Beard, who plays his son, ’cause they also look remarkably like each other.>>RIEDEL: They do.>>DALDRY: And we don’t spend a lot of time, you know, trying to find behavioral characteristics that actually both of them share, but I think they both do it very –>>HARE: Yeah, they do.>>DALDRY: They are plausibly son and father.>>HARE: That’s right.>>RIEDEL: Now, my feeling about the play this time around — Well, I really felt the heartbreak and the person who’s gonna have the most difficult time not being in the relationship, in this case, is the man, is Bill Nighy. I get the sense that Carey Mulligan, as difficult as it is for her to put this behind her, she will go on, but he’s the one who’s gonna have the ache and the loss and the yearning, and I didn’t feel it that way the first time around that I saw it.>>HARE: No, I think there are differences in the performance. And I think that Michael played it as a — Michael Gambon, who played it originally, brilliantly, as Bill plays it brilliantly — Michael played it more robust. In other words, Michael was a man who had great difficulty in showing his feelings and whose attitude was, “Well, if a woman’s gonna do this to me, I’m going back out to, you know, get on with my life.”>>RIEDEL: Right.>>HARE: Because, in a way, he was a man who was out of touch with his feelings, except through his relationship with Kyra, which is the only place he’d ever been in touch with his feelings. And that was more robust, whereas I think Bill is completely wonderful at suggesting the layers of damage caused by the end of the relationship to him.>>RIEDEL: Is this something that you went for in directing Bill?>>DALDRY: Yes, I tried to pitch it as emotionally as I possibly could. But it’s also just the, you know — of course, I mean, loss… We all, as we get older, find different ways of living with loss, but growing older is just an accumulation of loss. So, in a sense, the loss that the character feels is part of the inevitability of his age, as opposed to her age just because the loss is so much more profound.>>RIEDEL: I find this play interesting, again, because it reminds me, as many of your plays do, of Shaw’s plays, in that you have people who take opposite points of view of the world, but you write the businessman so well that even if you are on the left and were to disagree with everything he stands for, he puts his arguments in such a clever, smart way, you find yourself being seduced by what could be the “bad guy,” so to speak.>>HARE: He’s not in any view — in my view — at all a bad guy. And so, you know, if — I think, exactly as Kyra says, it’s a certain point — the energy is what everybody needs. And certainly when I’ve seen so many small businesspeople who, you know, have this incredible courage, willing to take these risks, show that daring, and put their own lives on the line in order to do the things they want to do, who would sneer at that? Nobody would sneer at that.>>HASKINS: Well, may I –>>HARE: Let me just say, but there is an extremely prescient attack on the banks in the play, which I did write in 1994.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ]>>HARE: And when the relationship between business and the banks is discussed, then the whole audience comes alight at this point because anger against the banks turns out to be historical.>>HASKINS: I do think of him as a bit of a bad guy. I’m sorry. And you wonderfully say it up front. You have the character say, “Oh, do not judge in your personal life,” and you set that up, you know, asking us to not judge. But when you realize what has happened to his wife and the circumstance that created — the choices that he made as an adult, significantly older than Kyra’s character — Well, you know — Again, you don’t judge, but at the same time, it’s a very selfish guy.>>HARE: Yeah, Michael was asking me about the points of view. He wasn’t asking me about the emotional. That’s something different. And you may be right about that, but in terms of his point of view, I’ve got a great deal of sympathy for it, haven’t you?>>DALDRY: Well, yeah, but I’ve got a great deal of sympathy for his emotional life, as well.>>RIEDEL: So, you would disagree with Susan, who basically says, you know, the man ruined his wife’s life by having this affair.>>DALDRY: Well, both of the characters act in certain ways. I mean, he accuses her of being very selfish ’cause she just walks out and has no further interest — particularly no further interest because of all the crippling aspects for the boy in the play, is that she had no further contact with him. So, in a sense, both behaved in certain ways you could argue are selfish, but I wouldn’t like to judge either of them for those, except they can judge themselves ’cause they’re in the relationship, but I, as an outsider, would only just argue from the point of view –>>HASKINS: This is why David Hare is so brilliant in this play, like so many others. I’m — My thoughts are just going wild and positioning the people. And then there’s the first act, where I was very down on him — and even her — and then you come to the second act, and it’s a whole other significant point.>>HARE: I think the strength of this production is that the second act is so strong in this production. In the first time ’round, everybody saw the first act as this great firework display about him, and then they sort of sat, feeling that it turned a bit spinachy in the second half.>>HASKINS: Oh, no.>>HARE: I know, but in the original production, they felt it turned spinachy in the second half, when, you know, she puts her point of view about public service.>>RIEDEL: Right.>>HARE: And I don’t think anybody comes out of this production saying that because I think the emotional line between the two of them is followed right to the end in this production.>>RIEDEL: Was this a play that you were attracted to doing, or were you just — the producers put it together and said, “Let’s get Daldry ’cause he can do anything”?>>DALDRY: No.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ]>>DALDRY: It wasn’t like that at all. David and I have a very long relationship, going back many, many years, both in theater and in film. And I saw this production when it first started at the Cottesloe Theatre many years ago. You know, it was one of the most extraordinary nights I’ve had in a theater. And the idea that one day we would come back to it or we would start a conversation — we’ve been talking about it for some time, haven’t we, about how to do it and how to cast it and when it might happen and — So, it’s the end of a conversation and the beginning of another one, but it’s been in our heads for some time.>>HARE: And I have turned down revivals of it for the past 15 years — or front-line revivals. I don’t let anybody do it because I always say, “Who is going to play the man?” Because it was originally played by Michael Gambon and then, in a second West End production, by Bill Nighy, I then said, you know, “Who is going to follow those two men? If you can tell me a man who will play it as well as those two, fine.” But at this point, producers always suddenly fell silent. And it turned out the answer to the question, “Who will play it as well as Bill Nighy?” is Bill Nighy. [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: Now, Carey — you said — I didn’t realize this — that she — aside from one other play, she has not done plays in 1,000-seat theaters before, right?>>DALDRY: She played Nina in “The Seagull” on Broadway. She’s one of the leading actresses of her generation, and I think she’s proving in this production. She’s disarmingly honest. She’s shocking. It’s a shocking performance, and it’s shocking in its truthfulness.>>RIEDEL: Yeah, it’s true. You don’t really see the acting with her.>>DALDRY: You don’t see it. No, you can’t see the joins.>>RIEDEL: And I thought Bob Crowley’s set is terrific, too. You really have the feel — In fact, when it first started, I thought, “This almost feels like one of those ‘Prime Suspect’ scenes, you know, set in those terrible inner-city places, that some awful thing is going to happen behind those doors.” It’s very authentic, the feel, and I don’t remember that from the production I saw the first time around, all the…>>HASKINS: No, I remember. That was very different.>>RIEDEL: What do you call it, counsel houses, in England?>>DALDRY: In England, we call it counsel. In America, you call it — She lives in a project. The reason I put it in projects is so you get a feel of the rest of the world that she’s really chosen. You get a sense of the people around here, a sense of the community. She’s made this extraordinary choice, and it just felt — the choice she made is so interesting that you want to see that choice onstage.>>RIEDEL: Were you with that right away, to reset it –>>HARE: Oh, I thought it was incredible when I saw that. Nobody’s ever done the play like that. And, you know, I’d spent my whole life saying I didn’t want to write plays in rooms. And, indeed, Bob Crowley doesn’t remember this, but when we — when Richard was doing the first production, we offered it first to Bob, and Bob said, “I don’t do plays in rooms.”>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ]>>HARE: And I said, “I don’t write plays in rooms, either, but I’ve given in after 30 years or whatever, and I’ve written a play in a room.” And what’s so great is Stephen and Bob have found a way of not making it a play in a room. It’s liberating for me because personally when I walk into the theater and I see all those junky old walls, it depresses me because I know nothing’s going to change all evening. And it’s gonna be a very great writer who’s going to keep me visually happy for all that time, whereas when I see a broad canvas of the kind Bob and Stephen are giving me, I’m immediately — I’m excited, you know?>>HASKINS: And then it snows.>>HARE: Then it snows.>>DALDRY: Spoiler.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ] Speaking of broad canvas, I saw your adaptation of “Beyond the Beautiful Forever.”>>HARE: I don’t think there could be a broader canvas.>>RIEDEL: No, no. [ Laughs ] That was terrific, by the way, Rufus Norris’ production, almost as good as Stephen Daldry, but it’s an excellent, excellent production. Any chance of that play coming –>>HARE: I think it’s just financially impossible. You know, there’s tremendous density now in the Indian — You know, this is a play, for your viewers, which is set in the Mumbai slum and based on Katherine Boo’s book, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.” And so we have 25 Indian actors on the stage in London because there is now a community of actors in Britain who can play this play.>>RIEDEL: Yeah.>>HARE: To bring them over to New York, I think, would be prohibitively expensive. Rufus Norris very much wants the National Theatre, which he’s just taken over as artistic director, to be a multicultural place…>>RIEDEL: Mm-hmm.>>HARE: …and to reflect London and the rest of the country. And I think that this play — by starting with a play about — really, about global capitalism at the lowest level, about what it’s like in a slum in Mumbai, he’s really announcing his policy for the next few years, I think.>>RIEDEL: Yeah. Now, Stephen, Rufus has run the National and Nick Hytner’s run the National and Trevor Nunn’s run the National. When is Stephen Daldry gonna run the National?>>DALDRY: Well, Stephen Daldry’s not running the National. [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: Well, would Stephen Daldry ever consider running the National?>>HASKINS: ‘Cause Stephen Daldry’s busy.>>DALDRY: Stephen Daldry’s very busy at the moment. He can’t quite fit that in.>>RIEDEL: But surely you must have been on somebody’s short list at some point.>>DALDRY: I love producing and I loved running the Royal Court and I love doing all that stuff. But right now it’s just — I just love the simplicity of just being a director.>>RIEDEL: You think they should ever ask a playwright to run the National?>>HARE: No, but they should ask a playwright up to the fourth floor.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ]>>HARE: I mean, it’s sort of scandalous that they never, ever have a playwright anywhere near their decision making. And even Nick Hytner, whom I admire to, you know, an incredible degree, but I do find it very, very strange that in the decision making of the National Theatre, the playwright’s view is not represented at all.>>RIEDEL: Why is that?>>HARE: It’s a simple directocracy in England. And more and more of our theaters are directocracies. And the ones that are given to actors or given to writers always are interesting. Maybe you don’t agree. But a little bit of diversity wouldn’t be a bad idea.>>DALDRY: Yeah, but do you really want to be up on the fourth floor talking about…>>HARE: I don’t want to, no.>>DALDRY: …catering…>>HARE: I don’t want to.>>DALDRY: …and why the box office isn’t working?>>HARE: But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about is repertory.>>DALDRY: Artistic policy, ah.>>RIEDEL: That’s interesting, though. I mean, there is something about the director. We’ve got all these celebrity directors now, like Stephen and Nick, and they really are the — they run the business now, do they not?>>HARE: That’s exactly it. You know, it used to be actor-managers who ran the British theater. And they were — You know, George Devine or Laurence Olivier or any of these people were primarily actors. Granville-Barker even was an actor. And they ran the theaters. Now it’s run by a cast of professional directors.>>RIEDEL: How do you feel about that, Stephen?>>DALDRY: It’s been the same the whole of my adult life, so — I mean, you can go way back to, you know, the post-war period, but –>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ]>>DALDRY: But, really, in the modern age, it tends to be run by directors, yes. And in a sense, I think that’s right, and I think it’s better — it should be run by directors — than producers, in a sense, although sometimes there’s a balance between the two.>>HASKINS: But if writers had to do the jobs of artistic directors and producers, they would go mad and be unable to write.>>HARE: Yeah. I mean, you know, I was often asked by Peter Hall to run various things for him, and I simply — You know, I was asked to run the Olivier as a separate theater for a while. And I just turned it down on the grounds that I couldn’t concentrate on my writing.>>HASKINS: No?>>RIEDEL: Right. Well, I guess you find in Ken Tynan’s great dairies, he’s so thrilled to get the job working at the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier. And then he realizes it’s a terrible job, he can’t accomplish anything, and no one’s — Everyone paid attention to him when he was the big critic, and now no one cares what he thinks when he’s now in the bureaucracy, which could easily happen to a writer.>>DALDRY: I don’t know. I would have thought that he would have considered it one of his great success stories, his contribution to the National Theatre.>>RIEDEL: I think it sort of broke him, though, in the end.>>DALDRY: Yeah, but he made a great contribution.>>HARE: I think what broke Ken was the sense of personal — he felt personally let down or betrayed by Laurence Olivier…>>RIEDEL: Yes.>>HARE: …and that Olivier finally didn’t value him in the manner that he should have been valued, considering what he’d contributed to that theater.>>RIEDEL: Right.>>HARE: And I think that sort of sense that Olivier wasn’t going to be loyal to him — I think that really upset him. And then finally that Olivier wouldn’t let him write his biography, you know, that Olivier didn’t help when Ken said, “Well, I’m gonna devote my life to writing your biography.” It’s a bit of a hard blow to be dealt by the man that you’ve worshipped and worked for…>>RIEDEL: That has been your God.>>HASKINS: But was this Olivier’s general M.O., to be that way to people?>>HARE: Well, I don’t think he was known as personally the warmest and most loyal of human beings. I think one can say that of Olivier. I mean, I personally was absolutely terrified of him.>>RIEDEL: Really?>>HARE: Yeah. I mean, I was 23 when I went to work for him, so I was extremely scared of him. He just scared the living daylights out of me. And at the time, he had a sort of pink brace ’round his neck so that whenever he — ’cause he’d been ill — so that whenever he — if you were stupid enough to speak in his presence, he would do this thing of… [ Laughter ] And by the time Richard III had done that to you, the words dried on your lips. [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: You were terrified. We only have a couple minutes left, but I’m interested in your opinion of this. We talked earlier about Michael Blakemore, whom we know, and he wrote this very good book, “Stage Blood.” Why is it that these British theater people settle scores in memoirs? I mean, you read Peter Hall’s diaries, and he’s sticking it to somebody. And you read Tynan’s diaries, and he’s getting back at someone. And Richard has a gentler version, but he’s still settling his score. American theater people — they don’t write diaries to get back at their enemies. What is it about you people? And you’re gonna do your diaries, too, Stephen, ever?>>DALDRY: No, I’m not gonna do my diaries. I mean, I don’t think people write those books to settle scores. I think they — I mean, it’s partly establishing the narrative that they — a narrative for themselves, within…>>RIEDEL: To write history the way they want to lay it down.>>DALDRY: Yeah, and there are conflicting versions of that history, so that actually saying, “This is my version of how that history…” I don’t think it comes from a bad place of settling scores. I think it is just about establishing where you are in a particular narrative.>>RIEDEL: Mm. And do you snap up these dairies? ‘Cause you lived through a lot of this.>>HARE: My memoir, “The Blue Touch Paper”…>>HASKINS: Yeah.>>HARE: …is being published in September by Faber in London and by WW Norton here. And the editor at Faber said this is the first book of theatrical memoir she’s ever read in which no scores are settled at all. She said there is not a single score settled, and of all the books she’s been offered, it’s the only one. And it’s true. I didn’t write it for that. I wrote it because, oddly, as what you call a baby boomer, or what we call the hippie generation, it’s very odd how few memoirs there have been of that period by writers. Salman Rushdie obviously has written about the fatwa, but that is not really a full memoir. And very few people have actually written about the ’60s and ’70s. And I sort of was slightly disarmed that I’ve ended up with the field to myself.>>DALDRY: While we’re talking about writing your autobiography, can we just talk about your relationship — I’m fascinated by this — your relationship to Broadway? What was your first play you did bring to Broadway?>>HARE: “Plenty.”>>DALDRY: Was it “Plenty”?>>RIEDEL: It was a sensation here.>>HARE: Yeah, “Plenty” in 1983. But that was Joe Papp, and Joe Papp produced it, first of all, downtown at The Public and then moved it uptown, as he did a lot of things.>>RIEDEL: Yeah.>>HARE: And it was really Joe who invented the idea that you could move something — you know, a serious work — you could find out Off Broadway whether it was gonna work, and then you could move — We certainly never put it on with the intention of moving it.>>DALDRY: Right.>>HARE: But the whole trail now whereby it’s accepted, say, as will happen with “Hamilton”…>>RIEDEL: Yeah.>>HARE: …was created by “Chorus Line” and by Joe, you know, creating this new way of making serious work in the American theater.>>RIEDEL: It’s interesting you say that because I think now that some of the problems we have with the nonprofit theaters is they’re all looking for their score for “A Chorus Line.” So, they’re thinking ahead for Broadway. And I know from the stories of “Chorus Line,” you know, Michael Bennett went into Joe’s office and played 15 minutes of these tapes of the chorus dancers, and Joe said, “Okay, I’ll give you $100,000 and a room. Go to work.” There was no Broadway.>>HARE: No, well, with “Plenty,” it was exactly the same. You know, Joe sort of reluctantly said, “Okay, I’ll do ‘Plenty,’ even though it’s a political play about a discontented British woman, you know, set over 12 scenes, all these changes of scene, you know, and it’s British history, and nobody in America’s interested in British history.” You know, there was never a thought to Broadway.>>DALDRY: Yeah.>>HARE: And the idea that it would then, you know, be so incredibly successful as a Broadway hit was in nobody’s mind.>>RIEDEL: And now whenever you hear there’s a new play by David Hare, we automatically think, “Broadway, here you come.”>>HARE: Yeah. But to me, that’s important, the idea that there is — You know, when I arrived in this town this time and walked into Times Square and saw the insanity — And you kind of go, “This has got to be sort of the worst place in the world to try and present a serious play. Why would you do it here? It’s Disneyland.”>>RIEDEL: [ Chuckling ] Yes.>>HARE: But then you walk, and other people’s — not just mine — other people’s serious plays — there is that serious audience. And however many times they’ve been, they’re still looking for the serious play. Don’t you think so?>>DALDRY: Do you think there is still a serious audience in New York to go and see serious plays on Broadway?>>HARE: Well, there is at ours.>>RIEDEL: They’re coming to “Skylight.” They’re coming to “The Audience,” another play that you directed.>>DALDRY: Luckily enough, they’re still coming, but are they in enough numbers, do you think, to sustain?>>HARE: Well, the town is full of hugely intelligent people. I mean, this is a city full of, you know, some of the most intelligent people in the world. And, yes, they’ve been pissed off by the Broadway experience many times. They’ve been, you know, traduced by Broadway many times. But they still will turn out if there’s something, you know…>>RIEDEL: They will, but you’ve also perfected the formula, though, of the 16-week run with the big star in it. And that drives them to the theater, too. I mean, I would like to know if some of these serious plays could run, like “Plenty,” an open-ended run. “Plenty” was not a limited run with a huge star. Kate Nelligan, a wonderful actress originally, but you moved to Broadway, and it was gonna run till it ran out of gas.>>HARE: Yeah.>>RIEDEL: Now it’s, “We’ll put Helen Mirren and the Queen and we know we’ll sell out and that’ll be it.”>>DALDRY: I’m with you. I mean, can — [ Laughter ] Is it sustainable beyond just stars nipping in for 12 weeks and then going away again? Is it actually — And are we going to see plays, or are we just gonna come and see star vehicles? I mean, that is the key question.>>HARE: But you know why all this happened. It happened simply because that was the only economic model that anybody could make work, wasn’t it, pre-selling the tickets and pre-selling them — How do you pre-sell tickets? You pre-sell them on the names of famous actors.>>RIEDEL: Yeah. Well, I guess “The Blue Room,” your play, was one of the first ones that started that model, with Nicole Kidman, when she made her Broadway debut.>>HARE: Well, everyone wanted to see Nicole Kidman. The fact that it happened to be in a play called “The Blue Room” was not of primary importance in their ticket-buying decision. But I don’t think that’s true with “Skylight.” I think with “Skylight,” you’re seeing two cracking good actors. But I have a very strong sense that people may have come to see Bill Nighy, but they stay for the play.>>DALDRY: Yeah.>>RIEDEL: Yeah. No, I think so. I think definitely in the case of “Skylight” and — well, a few plays we won’t mention, where it’s clearly a star-driven thing, but not “Skylight,” a beautiful, beautiful play, starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy, written by David Hare, and directed by Stephen Daldry. Thank you very much, gentlemen, for being our guests on “Theater Talk.” Always good to see you.>>ANNOUNCER: Our thanks to the friends of “Theater Talk” for their significant contribution to this production.>>ANNOUNCER: We welcome your questions or comments for “Theater Talk.” Thank you, and good night.

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