Cropped Poster
Fall, 2007
Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
 

Thornton Wilder completed his sixth, and perhaps most ambitious, play, The Skin of Our Teeth, on January 1, 1942. After trial runs in New Haven, Connecticut, and Baltimore, Maryland, the play opened on Broadway at the Plymouth Theater on November 18, 1942. The production--directed by Elia Kazan and starring Tallulah Bankhead (Sabina), Frederic March (Mr. Antrobus), and Florence Eldridge (Mrs. Antrobus)--received positive reviews and ran for 355 performances. Audiences and critics applauded Wilder's unconventional drama about the history of humankind. Most reviewers agreed that the playwright had produced a work that would revitalize American theater; as Brooks Atkinson wrote in the New York Times, "The Skin of Our Teeth stands head and shoulders above the monotonous plane of our moribund theater--an original, gay-hearted play that is now and again profoundly moving, as a genuine comedy should be.''

Disrupting traditional notions of linear time, Wilder's play tells the story of the twentieth-century American Antrobus family in three acts which recount such epochal events as the onset of the Ice Age, the start of Great Flood, and the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Ending exactly as it began, the play illustrates the cyclical nature of existence, celebrating humanity's resilience, inventiveness, and will to survive. Although the play offers an age-old message, it does so in an untraditional form, rejecting the conventions of naturalistic drama. Not only do the characters appear to be both middle-class Americans and allegorical figures, but they also repeatedly drop out of character and speak directly to the audience, breaking theatrical illusion and reminding viewers that they are watching a play. Combining modern theatrical experiments and timeless human themes, Wilder produced a work that would both challenge and entertain generations of Americans. Along with Our Town (1938), The Skin of Our Teeth is considered Wilder's theatrical masterpiece and an invaluable cornerstone of modern American drama.


Director’s Note:
  September 11.  The Indian Ocean Tsunami.  Hurricane Katrina.  The war in Iraq.  There are many disasters and threats of disaster that the human race has encountered in recent years.  In 1940 Thornton Wilder was well aware of the threat the looming world war posed.  He decided to construct a play that would address not the war itself, but the idea that there is always hope.  Since the dawn of time human beings have survived floods and plagues and wars and pestilence.  We take a licking and keep on ticking!  Go humans, GO!  We somehow always manage to survive by the skin of our teeth.  So when we see the Antrobus family finding ways to make it through the ice age (inventing the wheel seems to help) we say, “Go humans, go!”  When Antrobus herds his family and all the animals onto a boat in order to survive the flood we say “Go humans, go!”  When we see the Antrobus family, nearly torn apart from strife within and without, we know they can make it and again we say, “Go humans, go!”  We see the play itself begin to crash down around the actors.  Some actors refuse to go on, some come down with food poisoning, but the show must go on!  We root for them, we cheer them on, we have to, and we know they can survive!  And we will survive, we must survive!  And life must go on!  Go humankind, go!
 
Dan Wirth
About the playwright:
Thornton Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin on April 17, 1897. He received a B.A. from Yale University in 1920, and thereafter went to Rome to study archaeology. He returned to the United States in 1921 to take a position teaching French at a private school in New Jersey, and to attend graduate school at Princeton University, where he received his M.A. in French literature in 1926.  In 1926 he published his first novel, The Cabala.  Since this was not a commercial success (albeit a critical one) he continued to teach school until his second novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, became a commercial success and won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1927.  Mr. Wilder started in the theatre as a translator.  His first successful play, OUR TOWN, won him his second Pulitzer Prize in 1938, firmly establishing his reputation as one of America's pre-eminent dramatist. His other famous plays include The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), The Matchmaker (1954, which became the source ten years later for Hello Dolly!), The Alcestiad, The Long Christmas Dinner, Pullman Car Hiawatha, The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden, Infancy, Childhood, and Someone From Assisi. Mr. Wilder died in 1975.

Thornton Wilder on The Skin Of Our Teeth:
The Skin of Our Teeth begins...by making fun of old-fashioned play writing; but the audience soon perceives that he is seeing “two times at once.”  The Antrobus family is living both in prehistoric times and in a New Jersey commuter’s suburb today.  Again, the events of our homely daily life—this time the family life—are depicted against the vast dimensions of time and place.  It was written on the eve of our entrance into the war and under strong emotion and I think it mostly comes alive under conditions of crisis.  It has been often charged with being a bookish fantasia about history, full of rather bloodless school-masterish jokes.  But to have seen it in Germany soon after the war, in shattered churches and beer halls that were serving as theaters, with audiences whose price of admission meant the loss of a meal and for whom it was of absorbing interest that there was a “recipe for grass soup that did not cause the diarrhea,” was an experience that was not so cool.  I am very proud that this year it has received a first and overwhelming reception in Warsaw.  The play is deeply indebted to James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake.  I should be very happy if, in the future, some author should feel similarly indebted to any work of mine.  Literature has always more resembled a torch race than a furious dispute among heirs.
 
The theater has lagged behind other arts in finding the “new ways” to express how men and women think and feel in our time.  I am not one of the new dramatists we are looking for.  I wish I were.  I hope I have played a part in preparing the way for them.  I am not an innovator but a rediscoverer of forgotten goods and I hope a remover of obtrusive bric-a-brac.  And as I view the work of my contemporaries I seem to feel that I am exceptional in one thing—I give (don’t I?) the impression of having enormously enjoyed it.
Thornton Wilder, preface to 3 Plays1957

Dedication:   The cast and crew of The Skin of Our Teeth would like to dedicate our production to Dr. Harold Hild on the occasion of his retirement from the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre.  Every ending is a new beginning!  Only the dinosaur and the mammoth are extinct!

Cast  (in order of appearance):
Announcer………………………………..…….….…..Smedley Hooper
Sabina, a maid……………………………….…….…...Stephanie Wyatt
Mrs. Margaret Antrobus, a wife and mother.…….…..……Wendy Silva
A Baby Dinosaur…………………………….……….Sara  Louise Moss
A Baby Wooly Mammoth ………………….…………..Rachel Backing
A Telegram Delivery Boy………………….…………….…David Mitch
Gladys Antrobus …………………………….………...Amanda Rzany
Henry Antrobus ………………………………………….... Ryan Weel
George Antrobus, a family man.…………….………….... Kyle Young
Moses, a judge……………………………………..…….. Nelson Rojas
A Doctor ………………………………………..…….. Duncan Macnab
Homer, a blind man……………………………..………….Mike Llanes
A Professor……………………………………..………..Patrick Garone
Miss T Muse……………………………………..……….Sarah Sherron
Miss E Muse……………………………………..………..Laura Carmer
Miss M Muse…………………………………..……………...Nilsa Ortiz
A Fortune Teller………………………………..…………..Kara Ewinger
Presidential Also Ran…………………………..………...Patrick Garone
Woman………………………...……………..………………..Nilsa Ortiz
Chair pusher……………………………………..………..David Mitchell
Broadcast Official…...………………………..…………...Sarah Sherron
Asst. Broadcast Official…………..…………..………….Heather Llanes
Conveener #1…………………………...…….……………..Mike Llanes
Conveener #2………………..……………..…………...Duncan Macnab
Additional Conveeners…...…...Laura Carmer, Nilsa Ortiz, Sara Moss,
                                     Rachel Backing, Nelson Rojas, Patrick Garone
Stage Manager—Frank Fitzpatrick…..…...………...…...Albert F. Clark
Personal Assistant - Ivy Van Druten...………...………Laura Carmer
Friends of Antrobus - Harold Tremayne.….……...……... Nelson Rojas
Wardrobe Mistress - Hester Babcock…..…………........Sarah Sherron
House Manager - Fred Bailey…...…..….…………...…..David Mitchell
Assistant Stage Manager…………………………….….Heather Llanes


Production Staff:
 
Producer…………………………...........……....Anna Antaramian
Director...…………………………..…….….............…..Dan Wirth
Stage Manager..……………...………..….............…Derek Jones
Scenic Designer/Co-Tech Director…..………..Jessica Kuehnau
Lighting Designer/Co-Tech Director….…..…….John Rodriguez
Costume Designer....………..……….……..….....Jana Anderson
Assistant Director..……………...……..…..Benjamin T. Arrington
Assistant Stage Manager………………………...Heather Llanes
Props…………………………………..….…….…...Holly Hoffman
Master Electrician………..………….……...……….…Eric Senne
Sound and Video Designer………....….…...…Nikola Ranguelov
Running Crew………………………..…Patrick Garone and Cast
Set Construction…….….………..…..…Theatre Practicum class
House Manager ….…………..……………………..Lauren Carter
Theatre Manager………………….…..…….……..Bridgid Pulliam
Box Office Manager………….……..……..…………Marjie Kranz
Public Relations Director………....……….…..….Bridgid Pulliam
Poster/Brochure Designer……..…………...….  .....Jason Kranz
Theatre Bookkeeper…………...….…..Becca Raven Uminowicz



Henry (Ryan Weel, left) smiles at his dad, Mr. Antrobus (Kyle Young, 3rd from left) as Mrs. Antrobus (Wendy Silva, 2nd from left) tries to protect Henry and Gladys (Amanda Rzany) hangs on daddy’s arm. Sabina (Stephanie Wyatt) smiles as Mr. Antrobus (Kyle Young)
tries to sneak up on her.
Henry (Ryan Weel) and Gladys (Amanda Rzany) fight while Mrs. Antrobus (Wendy Silva) tries to separate them. Meanwhile, Mr. Antrobus (Kyle Young, far right) flirts with Sabina, the maid (Stephanie Wyatt, standing).


Smedley Hooper (Announcer) is making his triumphant return to the Stage Center Theatre, having previously appeared here as Lane in The Importance of Being Earnest. He is descended from a long line of actors most of whom could be found at one time or another gathering in uneven and ill-organized crowds outside the Cock and Bull Tavern waiting for their manager. He is indebted to Mr. Wirth for taking the foolhardy risk of rescuing Mr. Hooper from a long-deserved obscurity in an alley off Michigan Avenue to play in this production. Also, Hello Caitlin!
 

Stephanie Wyatt (Sabina) has been living in Chicago for a year and a half and done several Stage Center Productions including:The Birthday Party, Finding the Sun, and The Heidi Chronicles. Playing the role of Sabina is a definite delight. I would like to thank my friends and family for without their unquestionable support my career would not be possible. MOST of all of would like to thank my fiancé Brandon Jones without whose love my life would be empty, I cannot wait to marry you. I love you.
 

Wendy Silva (Mrs, Margaret Antrobus)  is glad to be appearing in The Skin of Our Teeth. She is currently appearing in the Children’s Theatre Workshop production of Wiley and the Hairy Man. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with such a talented cast and director.
 

Sara Louise Moss (a Baby Dinosaur, Conveener) is a senior here at NEIU. This is the first time you will see her on stage. Most recently you would have seen her name in the program for Finding the Sun, The Heidi Chronicles, and The Birthday Party.  She would like to thank her friends for their help with everything. And of course she would like to thank her family, for they are the best part of her life.  They make her who she is, and come to her shows even though she is never on stage.  You rock!
 

Rachel Backing (a Baby Wooly Mammoth, Conveener) is currently attending her last semester of classes here at Northeastern as an undergraduate. This is her Stage Center debut as an actress but was recently stage manager for shows such as Mrs. Warren's Profession, The Heidi Chronicles, and The Birthday Party. She would like to thank all her friends and family who have been so supportive. 
 

David Mitchell (a Telegram Delivery Boy, Chair Pusher, Fred Bailey) is very pleased to be appearing in another Stage Center Theatre production.  He was most recently seen in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Thanks to Dan, the cast and the crew for a great experience. More thanks to the magnificent group of people David has the privilege of calling his family and friends: Mom, Dad, Mike, Becky, Tommy, Jackie, Nicole, Michelle, Joy, Heather, Matt



Amanda Rzany (Gladys Antrobus) is pleased to be making her Stage Center premier in The Skin of our Teeth and is absolutely thrilled to have been given this chance. Amanda is in her second year at Northeastern and is a Biology Major. She would like to thank her family, friends and the entire cast for helping and supporting her. She would especially like to thank her brother Henry for knocking some sense into her with the many stones that he has thrown at her head over the years. 
 

Ryan Weel (Henry Antrobus) is performing for the first time at Northeastern Illinois University. He has been involved in many musicals and plays throughout his career as a Professional Actor. He has been involved in productions such as Guys and Dolls and Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He is looking forward to working on more plays for Northeastern through the year. 
 

Kyle Young (George Antrobus) may be remembered as Frank in Rodney Higginbotham’s last show  Mrs. Warren’s Profession.  Kyle would like to take this time to thank Dan and Anna for giving their support, guidance, and time, and for being great and wonderful individuals to be around. Kyle would also like to thank the cast and the audience for attending and straining their eyes to see him make a fool of himself on stage.
 

Nelson Rojas (Moses, Conveener, Harold Tremayne)  makes his stage center debut in The Skin of Our Teeth. He is a Major in the Dept. of Communication, Media & Theatre with a minor in Theatre here at NEIU. He enjoys playing video games and being with his friends. He also enjoys rocking out with his band members in an Alice Cooper Tribute band (www.coopertribute.com). Check them out sometime. Nelson would like to thank his family for their support and a special thanks to Ruby for showing him what life is all about.
 

Duncan Macnab (a Doctor & Conveener #2) is making his debut in the Stage Center Theatre and is happy to be performing again. He spent five years at Piven Theater Workshop and studied for a very short time at Actor’s Gymnasium. He is also enjoying his time as Editor-in-Chief at the Independent, NEIU’s student newspaper.
 

Albert F. Clark (Mr. Fitzpatrick) is delighted to be in this production. He offers many thanks to Dan for giving him a role, and to the cast who he thinks will be more than up to the task of doing this play justice.  Al just finished playing Henden in Edward Albee’s Finding The Sun. He loves performing in Shakespeare plays and has been in  The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew and Richard III.   In his very first play, The Whole World Gets Well, the ensemble of Scrap Mettle SOUL was invited to take the play to London, England and Leith, (Edinburgh) Scotland.
 

Mike Llanes (Homer, Conveener #1) is a freshmen at NEIU. He is going to major in music with a focus in music education or musical geography.This is his debut at Stage Center Theatre. He would like to thank his parents, for if it weren't for their help, he wouldn't exist.
 

Patrick Garone (a Professor, Presidential Also Ran, Conveener) is a senior and will be graduating in December.  He has appeared in such Stage Center productions as The Mineola Twins, The Birthday Party, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. He has directed the Studio Series productions of Cloud Tectonics, Was He Anyone? and Backwardly Mobile.
 

Sarah Sherron (Miss T Muse, Broadcast Official, Hester) has been very active in the arts since seventh grade, when she debuted in The King and I. Since then, she has been in more than twelve plays/musicals. She is studying teaching and theatre at NEIU and is currently appearing in the Children's Theatre Workshop Production of Wiley and the Hairy Man. She hopes the audience enjoys this play as much as she has in the making of it. "This cast was awesome, thanks guys!!!"
 

Laura Carmer (Miss E Muse, Conveener, Ivy) is a sophomore at NEIU. She is undecided on her major but is thinking about Psychology. This is her debut with the Stage Center Theatre and she is  having a groovy time. She hopes to be a successful lawyer in the future.
 

Nilsa Ortiz (Miss M Muse, Woman, Conveener) is very excited to appear in The Skin of Our Teeth. This is the first production she's ever acted in. She is currently enrolled at Northeastern Illinois University as a sophomore. She is 20 years old and of Puerto Rican descent. She has lived most of her life in Rogers Park. She hopes you enjoy this play as much as she does.
 

Kara Ewinger (a Fortune Teller) recently played Christine in Miss Julie, part of the Stage Center Studio Series here at NEIU.  She also played Meg in The Birthday Party last year here at Stage Center.  Kara received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa.  Kara moved to the Chicago theatre scene a couple of years ago.  She is excited to be working again with Dan Wirth,  along with all of the other actors and crew for this show!
 

Heather Llanes (Asst. Broadcast Official & Asst. Stage Manager) is a senior at NEIU.  She is graduating in the Spring with a Bachelor's in Psychology and a minor in Theatre.  She is hoping to combine her interests by either taking theatre to therapy or therapy to theatre.  Kidding.
 

Profiles (Production Staff):

Anna Antaramian (Producer) has been a member of NEIU’s theatre faculty for the past seventeen years.  She is the Managing and Artistic Director of the Stage Center Theatre and is a past president of the Illinois Theatre Association.  She  holds an M.F.A. from New York University and has worked in various theatrical venues across the country, the most recent being the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre.

Dan Wirth (Director) has been involved with Theatre for more than 30 years. As a professional actor, he toured throughout the United States with The Acting Company. He performed in seven Off-Broadway theatres in New York City. In Europe, he performed at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and in London’s West End. Regionally, he has appeared at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and the Utah and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals. An award winning playwright, Dan’s plays have been performed in Ohio, California, and Washington, D.C. Dan has directed for six theatre companies in the Chicago area. This is his 12th year at Northeastern where he has directed The Birthday Party, Dracula, Buried Child, Little Murders, The Curate Shakespeare As You Like It, and The Nerd, four Children’s Theatre productions, and six Summer Transition Program Drama Workshops. Dan has also taught at seven other colleges in Chicagoland. He has an M.F.A. from The University of California, San Diego, and a B.S. from Central Michigan University. He is the proud parent of two terrific children, Ian (17) and Kailey (12).

Jessica Kuehnau (Scenic Designer / Co-Tech Director) As the newest member of Northeastern’s faculty, Ms. Kuehnau is pleased to be designing her first set for the Stage Center Theatre. Since completing her MFA in Scenic and Costume Design at Northwestern University, she has been designing sets and costumes for such notable theatres as Lifeline Theatre, MPAACT, The Griffin, Vittum Theatre, Light Opera Works and Metropolis Performing Arts Center. Currently on stage are her costume designs for August Wilson’s Jitney (Pegasus Players) and an adaptation of the children’s story Half Magic (Lifeline Theatre). Ms. Kuehnau is also the resident set designer, technical director and design professor at North Park University.

John Rodriguez (Lighting Designer / Co-Tech Director) joined the theatre faculty at Northeastern four years ago and has been teaching courses in technical theatre as well as working as a designer on Stage Center productions.  This past Summer season he designed the lights for the two Thymely Theatre productions: The Heidi Chronicles and The Lady’s Not For Burning.

Jana Anderson (Costume Design) has worked with the Stage Center Theatre for the last few years. Her work has also been featured by numerous theater groups including: Redmoon Theater, Light Opera Works, Irish Repertory Theatre to name a few. Prior to coming to the United States, Jana created elaborate costumes for classical opera productions at the Slovak National Theater in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. When she is not preparing costumes for theatrical productions, Jana is busy designing and creating unique haute-couture fashions for individual clients in the U.S. and Europe.


Special Thanks
:
To Ian Wirth, Kailey Wirth, The Department of Communication, Media and Theatre, the departments of  Accounts Payable, Budget, and Purchasing, Russ Grovak, Richard Jahnke and Print  Services.



Burn everything except Shakespeare.

Where would we be?
It's easier being dead.
Oh Oh Oh.

Look at me now.
You're not a beautiful woman.



They called me Cain.

Antrobus enters.
Melee A



Melee B

How have the little smellers been.
To make you remember today.

Refugees

Will you answer me?
The Antrobus version of Starbucks



Build up the fire

Ushers, will you pass the chairs up here?

It may be you.




Think Think.

Cirrhosis of the liver and Bright's Disease

Gone but not forgotten




I'll put your eye out.

Who was that you spoke to, George?

A ride in a roller-chair




Good morning, Miss Fairweather.

Whales!

You work too hard.




I shall report you to Equity.

Why can't you play it?

Come here.




This can happen.

They're waiting.

Think it over.




Whatever it was

Now, Gladys, you stay out of sight.

That's Gladys's baby.




I hope it comes.

There's not a minute to be lost.

I'm really with you.




His potato half-chewed

You're the last person I wanted to see.

Let me get my hands on his throat.



I used to give names to the hours of the night.


And there was light
Make up something Invent something.
Oh Oh Oh finale

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