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Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill

PlayMakers Repertory Company

By: Nov. 15, 2021
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Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  Image

"THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH" has opened in Chapel Hill at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, in the capable hands of the Playmakers Repertory Company. Thornton Wilder's (1897-1975) Pulitzer prize-winning drama is a cataclysmic take on humanity's ability to go on despite every obstacle placed in its path. Though the original production opened on Broadway in 1942, the theme of human survival amid conflict and calamity have changed little over time, making it as relevant today as it was then.Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  Image


The play follows the adventurous plight of the Antrobus family with George (Ray Dooley) and Maggie (Kathryn Hunter-Williams) and their two children Henry (Anthony August) and Gladys (Omolade Way), and their maid Sabina (Tori Jewell) as they traverse three distinct, and often bizarre, human hurdles. The adept cast takes on the complexities, which at times can be confusing, without hesitation.Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  Image

The general direction of the plot begins with the Antrobus (Greek for Human) family dealing with several biblical and historical themed scenarios. In one, son Henry has murdered his brother, followed by an approaching Ice Age. Later they must cope with Georges election as president and his marital infidelity. Finally the family winds up in a violent postwar civilization that threatens their very existence. Yet, through it all, the family always remains focused on survival.

Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  Image
Interestingly the title of the play is attributed to the biblical scripture Job 19:20 (the book of Job being all about trial and tribulation). The verse: "My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth." The play is a narrative (with Jeffrey Blair Cornell announcing) which hops from various eras and disasters then back, with pessimistic Sabina voicing the frustration of humanity as it's forced to deal with constant threat and seemingly inevitable loss. Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  ImageYet even as the thread of the time often begins to unravel it seems to be that life can be held together - no matter what - as people take responsibility for their own actions and accept the consequences, because time marches on.Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  Image

Director Vivienne Benesch and the ensemble cast do an excellent job of holding together the varied timelines and events of the tale, which could easily get out of control in lesser hands. Unconventional? Yes. Where else will you see a dinosaur and wooly mammoth in the family living room, along with an appearance from Moses and Plato? Everything from set design, costumes, well timed staging, and spot on acting make this and event filled eye-full.

Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  Image

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, live on stage through November 28, 2021. The show is written in three acts, and this company takes an intermission after the first one while acts 2 & 3 are played uninterrupted. The playbill is done with QR code so bring smartphone or iPad to view. For information and reservations, call (919) 962-7529 or go online to playmakersrep.org Review: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH a production of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill  Image



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