Tuesday October 17th 2017

“The Skin Of Our Teeth”

Here I am, approaching 75 years of life, and reviewing a play that was first presented 75 years ago- Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth”. This is a play that is seldom done, but one, despite all of its inane story-lines does have some heart and soul. The story deals with how people deal with crisis and invention. How people deal with mis-information, and this was way before we had as much mis-information available as the Internet has made possible. What wilder wanted us to do was “wake up and smell the coffee”, or in other words, look around us and see what is truly there instead of what we “hope” might be there!

Wilder was an amazing writer, giving us “Our Town”, “The Bridge of San Luis Rey”, “The Matchmaker” (which later became “Hello Dolly, when set to music), but many find that “The Skin of Our Teeth” was his true expression of “The American Way” and its clash with  the “American Dream”. His feelings, and much shines through this sterling production directed by Krissy Vanderwarker, that people would see his point. His testament to our people’s ingenuity, kindness, caring and love of literature and the arts.

This production is one that many will love, but is a long one. It is three acts, each close to 45 minutes with intermissions that came close to 15 minutes between. Part of this is the Greenhouse Theater Center facility. There are limited restrooms (downstairs) and the refreshments are also downstairs in the lobby. Long lines for both make it harder to resume in less. But three hours of theater, well done is better that attending a sporting event of the same length, or longer and sure beats most films.

Vanderwarker feels that this play, despite its age, is a “reminder of the cyclical nature of the human experience- reassuring us that we will survive and reprimands us for injuring each other and our planet, over and over”. This is how her direction takes this production and she is “right on”! Her casting is amazing. The Antrobus family, which is what the story is about is well handled by Linda Gillum as Mrs., the wild and wooly Matt Farabee as Henry, a.k.a Cain, their son, the lovely Kayla Raelle Holder as their daughter Gladys and as the head of the household, the incredible Kareem Bandealy. Their housekeeper, Sabina, who kind of is our hostess/narrator is played to sheer delight by Kelly O’Sullivan, a treat to watch from start to finish.

The rest of the cast members are called the ensemble as they do take on several roles during the three acts. The story covers many years as the Antrobus family has been together over 4,000 years. I mentioned a lot in inane stuff in the story. In the first act, they have a pet elephant and dinosaur- see!

The ensemble members are: Annie Prichard as the announcer, Peter A. Davis as Fitzpatrick, Kristen Magee (Dinosuar), Alice Wu as the Muse, Jerome Beck as the Telegraph Boy, Art Fox as The Doctor, Michael McKeogh as Moses, Diego Colon as Homer and the amazing Charin Alvarez as the fortune teller. These ensemble members change characters and costumes as well as play instruments and even sing to make this wild and crazy play more memorable than I have ever seen before. As I mentioned , it is not often that a theater company will tackle a project such as this, but the Remy Bumppo Company was up to the challenge.

The technical aspects of the show, as always were perfect with a set (Yeaji Kim, who also did the projections), lighting (Christine A. Binder), sound and original music (Stephen Ptacek), costumes (Mieka van der Ploeg) and props (Jessica Mondres). Over the years, this theater company continues to amaze and delight its followers with the cleverness and creativity they add to plays that could be very boring. In fact, I think Remy Bumppo brings young people to the theater, allowing them to explore culture as they want to see it, which may be different from the way their parents did. Perhaps this is part of the theme of this play- will history repeat itself, or will the next generation have a mind of its own?

“The Skin Of Our Teeth” will continue at The Greenhouse Theater Center located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue thru November 12th with performances as follows:

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  7:30 p.m.

Sundays  2 :30 p.m.

On Wednesdays, 10/25 and 11/8 there will be performances at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 2nd, a matinee at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $42.50- $57.50  (student and industry seats are available at deep discounts) and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 773-404-7336 or online at www.RemyBumppo.org

Parking on the street is available- metered and zoned- Webster and Larabee along OZ Park and on Orchard, north of Belden are NON RESIDENTIAL PERMIT FREE parking areas.

LAZ lot located at 555 west Webster $6.00 2-4 hours and Lincoln Garage (formed Children’s Hospital Parking) $10 (DO NOT PARK IN DePaul designated spaces)

SPECIAL EVENTS

10/21 Audio described with pre-performance touch tour at 1 p.m.

11/5  1:30 between the lines lecture prior to the performance

THURSDAYS 10/19, 10/26 and 11/2 post show talkback

SUNDAYS 10/14, 10/22, 10/29 and 11/2 post show talkback

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at ” The Skin Of Our Teeth”

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