Cabaret Theatre’s spring production of “The Skin of Our Teeth” has its actors exploring a new level of depth within their characters in this wild, fast-paced play. With biblical ties, war-time themes and modern viewpoints, this production takes you on a rollercoaster ride, leaving the audience with one feeling by its end: hope.
While the piece, written by Thornton Wilder, may not have been the first choice, all who have participated this spring have grown fond of it.
“This was not my first selection,” senior director and stage manager Madison Smith said. “I remember the first thing I had to say to Dr. Kennedy after reading the script was ‘There’s a dinosaur and a mammoth on stage, what is happening?’ But [this play] kinda grows on you. Even now, I’m listening to it and getting more out of it.”
The play itself is a story that follows the struggles of the Antrobus family. Father and husband George Antrobus is the provider for the family and goes about inventing things such as the wheel, the alphabet and multiplication tables in attempts to survive each event labeled as “the end of the world.” His care for his family falls short to nothing, aside from his affinity for his books.
“Connecting with my character was kind of difficult at first,” senior Isaiah Colon, who plays Mr. Antrobus, said. “I think being able to find one main focus for him, at least at the start so that I could build off of him, really helped. I mean, as you’ll see in the play, he is all over the place, he has wild mood swings. … So being able to define that and define the bounds of this character really helped to serve as a concrete point to reference all of the other various parts of his character back to.”
Rounding out the rest of the main cast are Maggie Antrobus, the wife and mother; Gladys and Henry, Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus’s children; and Sabina, the audience-friendly maid who seems to have an obsession with breaking the fourth wall. What appears to be your standard, American-dream family quickly disperses into the actuality of the situation, and that is that each of these characters are extremely complex, and each of them are flawed.
“Sabina is basically the audience link,” senior Kait Roughton said, speaking on the process of connecting with her character. “She’s the one who talks with the audience, who relates with the audience, which I really like; I think it’s really fun. She’s very funny … I relate to her in a lot of ways. She’s very thoughtful in a lot of ways, but very bleak at the same time. But it has been challenging as it’s basically two characters in one, Sabina herself and then the actor who plays Sabina.”
This production is full of failures, tragedies, turmoil and emotion. And that makes sense when we take a step back and realize that it had been written in 1942, relatively soon after the U.S. had entered WWII. The themes of despair are perfectly woven into this story’s plot, but by curtain-fall, it isn’t worry or anxiety that sits in our minds, but hope.
“I genuinely want the audience to do two things,” junior Stephanie Graham, who puts her motherhood skills on display through the portrayal of Maggie Antrobus, said. “First I want them to enjoy, and I want them to be so sucked in that they are asking themselves, ‘What’s gonna happen next with the Atrobuses?’ And second, I want this to make them think. To be able to analyze these characters and relate them to our world. But also to be able see how things like keeping the family together as a mother isn’t as easy as it looks at times.”
“The Skin of our Teeth” will be performed at 8 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Cabaret Theatre located in the basement of the student union. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and free with Capital ID. Ticket reservations can be made by calling (614) 236-7174.