To celebrate the opening of the newly renovated Richardson Auditorium, Campus Players needed a show that had a great script, could be moved into the new auditorium in a short amount of time, and most importantly, had value and meaning to the audience. After some discussion, the choice was clear. Thornton Wilder’s classic comedy “The Skin of Our Teeth” fit the bill.
“‘The Skin of Teeth’ is a brilliant, crazy, complex show,” said director Roger Moon. “It feels so contemporary in it’s not being realistic, and it’s meaningful. When the show was written in 1942 it was a message of hope for humanities ability to survive World War II and rebuild, but its style was ahead of its time and audiences found it somewhat confusing. Today the script works brilliantly.”
The main characters of the play are George and Maggie Antrobus, (Chris Cole and Lenita Krejci, seniors), their two children, Henry and Gladys (Justin Tinker, junior and Lisa Prater, sophomore), and Sabina (Lauren Dentscheff, freshman), who appears as the family's maid in the first and third acts and as a beauty queen temptress in the second act.
The play follows this family through their struggles to survive in the world. The characters' roles as archetypes are emphasized by their identification with Biblical and classical personalities.
“When the show was written in 1942, it was extraordinarily ahead of its time and audiences found it confusing,” said Moon. “Written in the midst of World War II, it was aimed to give great hope.”
“The Skin of Our Teeth” is a show that has an extensive history at SC. It has been produced three times at the college, in 1969, 1995, and most notably in 1953, when the Richardson main stage reopened after the tragic fire that had destroyed the building.
“It’s a terrific experience for the theatre department, after having done ‘Richardson Fire Project’ last year and really connecting to those alumni,” said Moon. “Here we are, doing ‘The Skin of Our Teeth,’ playing the same characters that the students played after the fire. It is a show that has had a tremendous impact on those who have seen it and been involved.”
The set that will be used in the Homecoming production is the exact same set that was used in the 1995 performance.
“It’s a very complicated show to design, and because it is a good set and all fabric, it was able to be saved after that previous production,” Moon says. “The entire set flies, which was a difficulty in ’95 because of the limited number of fly lines over the Richardson stage. With the doubling of lines during renovation, the set now works better than ever. We had great difficulty lighting the set in ’95, but now with both the state-of-the-art lighting system and extraordinary lighting positions, the set and show will look great.”
Tickets are available in the Southwestern College performing arts office. Call Rose Hanna at (620) 221-7720, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children and students. Show times are Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 9, at 3 p.m.