“The Skin of Our Teeth”

By Jeff Boudreaux

Skin of Our Teeth

I have to admit that it was the cute poster that drew me in to see Delgado’s latest theatre production of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth.” No, it wasn’t the fact that its original 1942 production won one of Wilder’s three Pulitzer prizes, but rather the artist’s cartoon rendition of a dinosaur and a wooly mammoth chasing a cute maid across some icy terrain. So naturally, I went into this play as a babe in the woods, with no prior knowledge of what the play was about, or even that it was critically acclaimed so long ago. Thus goes the longest three hours of my life! It started out enjoyable enough, with the terrific stage presence of lead actress Tara Gehrkin as Sabina, the aforementioned maid. Sabina likes to break the fourth wall, and not only does she speak to the audience – the “director” speaks to her, or the actress that is playing her, and I don’t mean Ms. Gehrkin. Confused yet? I’ll try to explain.

This play, drawn out in three acts, concerns the exploits of the Antrobus family. There’s Mr. Antrobus (Adriel Aviles) who invented the wheel, his wife (Chelsea Blunt), and their two children – Gladys and Henry (played by Monica Alderete and Nick Eschette). Of course, we’ve already met Sabina, who has designs on Mr. Antrobus. She also has a penchant for wanting to skip scenes and argue with the actors, not the characters. Do you see what I’m saying? It’s sort of a play within a play. The whole world is covered by an Ice Age and there’s cute little dinosaurs, wooly mammoths and even Moses himself who wants to come into the Antrobus household from the cold. The second act finds Mr. Antrobus as president of the world, in which he leaves his wife for a vixen who looks a lot like Sabina. The final act took us to a post-war wasteland where Mr. Antrobus and his son Henry are mortal enemies, but he manages to reunite with his wife. Oh, and I forgot to mention that this final act includes a rehearsal with “standin” actors because the original actors are all sick with food poisoning.

All I can say is that Thornton Wilder was one crazy cat. The play was pleasantly quirky but had some misplaced seriousness in the last hour which had me eyeing the exit. I mean, this is supposed to be a comedy, but I digress. “The Skin of Our Teeth” was directed by Casey Groves, and I’m just wondering why my program said there would be gunshots. There were no gunshots. And I swear that I did not fall asleep.

What Next?

Recent Articles