Ancient Lights brings three old friends and their partners and children together for Christmas, whose private lives and public lies furnish a contemporary commentary on identity and integrity.
Tom Cavallero, Hollywood actor, and his girlfriend Iona find that Northumberland in a blizzard isn’t the English pastoral they were expecting. Kitty is tortured by liberal guilt and worries about her journalist husband who is abroad covering a civil war. Bea, the public relations powerhouse, is mourning her perfectly organised Christmas, while her new lover, Tad, is more interested in morbid research for his new novel. The atmosphere is forced and self-conscious, because Iona is filming their every move for her documentary about ‘the real Tom.’ But no one, including Tom, is really sure who that is anymore, and it turns out that even in private film stars have to keep acting.
Stephenson’s funny and pointed play premiered at the Hampstead Theatre in 2000.