A SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. TITLE

The Skin of Our Teeth

Full-Length Play, Comedy  /  4f, 4m

Combining farce, burlesque and satire,
Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play depicts an Everyman family as it narrowly escapes one
end-of-the-world disaster after another, from the Ice Age to flood to
war.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4f, 4m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Farce, Period, Experimental
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Licence details
  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    Please submit a license request to determine availability.

Details

Summary

Meet George and Maggie Antrobus of Excelsior, New Jersey, a suburban, commuter-town couple (married for 5,000 years), who bear more than a casual resemblance to that first husband and wife, Adam and Eve; the two Antrobus children, Gladys (perfect in every way, of course) and Henry (who likes to throw rocks and was formerly known as Cain); and their garrulous maid, Sabina (the eternal seductress), who takes it upon herself to break out of character and interrupt the course of the drama at every opportunity (“I don’t understand a word of this play!”). Whether he is inventing the alphabet or merely saving the world from apocalypse, George and his redoubtable family somehow manage to survive – by the skin of their teeth.

Completed by the author less than a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, The Skin of Our Teeth (1942) broke from established theatrical conventions and walked off with the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Combining farce, burlesque, satire, and elements of the comic strip, Thornton Wilder depicts an Everyman family as it narrowly escapes one end-of-the-world disaster after another, from the Ice Age to flood to war.

History
The Skin of Our Teeth premiered on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre on November 18, 1942. Directed by Elia Kazan, the production featured Tallulah Bankhead as Sabina, Fredric March as Mr. Antrobus and Florence Eldridge as Mrs. Antrobus. A 1955 Broadway revival, directed by Alan Schneider, starred Helen Hayes, Mary Martin and George Abbott. In 1975, the play returned to Broadway in a production directed by José Quintero. The cast included Elizabeth Ashley, Alfred Drake and Martha Scott.
Cast Attributes
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors
Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage

ANNOUNCER
SABINA
MR. FITZPATRICK
MRS. ANTROBUS
DINOSAUR
MAMMOTH
TELEGRAPH BOY
GLADYS
HENRY
MR. ANTROBUS
DOCTOR
PROFESSOR
JUDGE
HOMER
MISS E. MUSE
MISS T. MUSE
MISS M. MUSE
USHER (2)
GIRL (DRUM MAJORETTE) (2)
FORTUNE TELLER
CHARI PUSHER (2)
CONVEENER (5)
BROADCAST OFFICIAL
DEFEATED CANDIDATE
MR. TREMAYNE
HESTER
IVY
FRED BAILEY

Also many small male and female roles available.

  • Time Period Contemporary, Ancient
  • Features Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Gun Shots
    • Mild Adult Themes
    • Smoking

Media

“Extraordinarily good... one of the finest American plays of the 20th century.” – Wall Street Journal

“Wonderfully wise... A tremendously exciting and profound stage fable.” – Herald Tribune

“Extraordinarily good... one of the finest American plays of the 20th century, a modern classic that ought to be seen as often as Our Town.” – Wall Street Journal, Read More

“For an American dramatist, all roads lead back to Thornton Wilder... The Skin of Our Teeth was a remarkable gift to an America entrenched in catastrophe, a tribute to the trait of human endurance.” – Paula Vogel, Foreword, The Skin of Our Teeth

ON BREAKING CHARACTER

The Women of Wilder
by Annette Storckman
June 4, 2019

Videos

  • The Skin of Our Teeth - Quintessence Theatre Promo

  • The Skin of Our Teeth - TFANA Trailer

  • Tappan Wilder on The Skin of Our Teeth

  • Q and A with Tappan Wilder: Quintessence Theatre

  • Tappan Wilder reads a letter from Uncle Thornton

More videos +

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Authors

Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Yale and Princeton, was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one ...

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