Trinity University’s main stage production of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” will open at 8 p.m. tonight in Stieren Theater. Directed by Trinity professor Kyle Gillette, “The Skin of Our Teeth” is the final production of the season for Trinity theatre.
“”˜The Skin of Our Teeth’ condenses all of human history into a single family that lives in suburban New Jersey. The Antrobuses, credited with inventing the wheel and the alphabet, face disaster after disaster, from ice age, to flood, to war,” Gillette said. “As each apocalypse comes, they just barely survive through a combination of ingenuity, resourcefulness and luck.”
Wilder is most widely known for his play “Our Town,” but “The Skin of Our Teeth” is a completely different experience. The two plays share some common elements, such as the depiction of ordinary life and inclusion of characters that seem to step out of their role to directly address the audience at various points throughout the play. However, the energy that colors “The Skin of Our Teeth” makes the play unique.
“The show is absolutely exhausting. By the end of it, we all feel like we just ran a marathon. Everything about it is just on a larger scale”“the cast, the set, the length”“it’s definitely a full night of theatre,” said junior Kate Cuellar.
While “Our Town” features a nearly bare set, the set required for “The Skin of Our Teeth” is a bit more complex.
“The play’s layers of reality and its sheer sprawling complexity”“including a cast of nearly 30 massive scene changes, the Atlantic City Boardwalk, a house that moves, is destroyed and gets reassembled”“made organization and timing difficult,” Gillette said.
The challenges presented as a result of the play’s intricacy allowed Gillette to incorporate new methods for perfecting the timing in sections of the play.
“Kyle is so creative and so fun to work with. We were working on fluidity and pacing of the show because there were too many pauses that didn’t mean anything, and actors were reading too slow or too fast,” said sophomore Sarah Perkins. “We actually did an entire run of the third act as an opera”“we were all singing our lines, and it was probably the best thing I have ever done as an acting exercise. It was Kyle’s idea, and he just sprung it on us. As a reward, Kyle sang our notes at the end.”
The production will run tonight through Sunday, April 13, and it will pick up again after the week of Easter with shows on Wednesday, April 23 through Saturday, April 26.