If The Skin of Our Teeth is your first outing to the theater, you may be equally delighted and confused.
In Act I, Sabina, narrator and maid to the Antrobus family, introduces you to the peculiar circumstances the family has found itself in: approaching walls of ice, dinosaurs and wooly mammoths in the front yard, a precocious son named Cain who killed his brother (you know who) and a father away perfecting inventions such as the wheel and the alphabet.
Sabina, played by Jennifer Nelson, of Daphne, breaks character and addresses the audience squarely, “I just don’t understand this play.”
As the storytelling settles in, by act three you, and Sabina, will get it. And you may leave this little theater with a whole new perspective on what’s happening in your own travels through time.
You also won’t be able to help but adore Sabina and the rest of the Antrobus clan, caught in the throes of author Thornton Wilder’s attempt to explain the history of mankind through a single, exhausted family. The tale masterfully uses the literary technique of allegory using the Antrobus family’s march through the centuries to tell the tale of all mankind.
Even the family pets, a dinosaur and wooly mammoth, portrayed by Fairhope students Elaine and Julia Walker, struggle silently with the approaching cold and their imminent demise.
Though written in 1942 the story addresses many of America’s daily issues: immigration, climate change and economic struggles.
“This is so current for our times and has such universal themes,” said Director Jonne Thornton. “This play is being redone all over the country and for good reason.”
The Pulitzer Prize winning play may be a long-time standard in theater lore but for this show Theater 98’s stage is welcoming several new soon-to-be favorites. Thornton said many of the production team members are new to the theater including Stage Manager LisaMarie Atchley. Nelson and the Walkers are also performing for their first time.
“We have a lot of experienced people as extras instead of playing the leads,” Thornton said. “I find that makes a lot of difference in the group scenes, they add so much to what is happening in the background.”