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Peterborough Players present ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’

  • The Peterborough Players’ “The Skin of Our Teeth” actors Rebecca Brinkley and Jack Koenig in the Players’ rehearsal hall Tuesday.  Staff Photo By Meghan Pierce

  • Dee Nelson, of The Peterborough Players’ “The Skin of Our Teeth,”  in the Players’ rehearsal hall Tuesday.  Staff Photo By Meghan Pierce—

  • A woolly mammoth prop in the Peterborough Players’ rehearsal hall Tuesday will have its own role in the Players’ upcoming production of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth.” Staff Photo By Meghan Pierce—

  • A woolly mammoth prop in the Peterborough Players’ rehearsal hall Tuesday will have its own role in the Players’ upcoming production of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth.” Staff Photo By Meghan Pierce

  • Cast members of the Peterborough Players’ “The Skin of Our Teeth” – Dee Nelson, Rebecca Brinkley and Jack Koenig – gather for a chat about the show in the Players’ rehearsal hall Tuesday.  Staff Photo By Meghan Pierce—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, June 28, 2018 4:10PM

In a tweet Tuesday, when talking about current events, Hollywood filmmaker Judd Apatow couched his remarks with “at this terrifying time.”

The same day, actors at the Peterborough Players gathered in their rehearsal hall and said according to the play they are rehearsing, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning comedy “The Skin of Our Teeth,” it’s always that “time.”

“That’s one of the messages of the play – it’s always ‘this time.’ ‘Living is always struggle,’ as Mr. Antrobus said in the third act,” said Jack Koenig, who plays George Antrobus. “How we muddle through, which is what life is all about.”

Dee Nelson, who plays his wife, Maggie Antrobus, adds, “And man’s will to survive through all these different disasters that the Antrobus’ go through. But it’s very funny too. And Wilder uses just so many different conventions, like vaudeville. We’ve got these huge themes, but we’ve also got tap dancing and singing. We’ll have a narrator to the audience, Sabina, sort of in the way of the Stage Manager in “Our Town,” except she causes a lot of trouble – in a very delightful way.”

Playing the part of Sabina is Rebecca Brinkley, in her Players’ debut. She recently worked with Players’ artistic director Gus Kaikkonen on the Drama Desk Award nominated production of “Hindle Wakes” in New York City. Kaikkonen is also directing her in “The Skin of Our Teeth.”

In “The Skin of Our Teeth,” married couple George and Maggie Antrobus of Excelsior, New Jersey, have been married for 5,ooo years – they are actually the first husband and wife, Adam and Eve. They have two children, the perfect daughter Gladys and a son, who likes to throw rocks, Henry – formerly known as Cain, as well as a talkative maid, Sabina, representing the “eternal seductress.”

Through an ice age, a flood and a devastating war, the family manages to survive – by the skin of their teeth, of course. Despite the calamities and fight for survival the play is filled with humor and the absurd, including a pet woolly mammoth and dinosaur.

“To me it kind of feels like the story of the entire world and the entire universe all told through one particular family,” Brinkley said.

Brinkley said, the play is different than anything she has even done before and not a play most theatre companies take on much these days, due the the demands of the props and cast size needed as well as the complicated themes.

“I don’t think people are doing this very frequently, which is also why it’s a fun experience for me. I’ve never done an absurdist play before,” Brinkley said. “People don’t usually have a mammoth, sitting around, to be used. Or so many cast members.”

“It’s an amazing play,” Koenig said. “When I was growing up, every high school used to do it all the time. Maybe because it was kind of crazy and you could have kids playing woolly mammoths.”

Nelson said the Players’ Second Company make the show possible for the small summer theatre.

“One wonderful thing is that with the Second Company we can actually have, sort of that, big cast that you almost never see in the theatre, including on Broadway,” Nelson said. “But to just have the stage totally populated by all these characters. And it’s given the Second Company an excellent chance to play substantial roles and multiple roles and sing and dance.”

Wilder wrote the play in 1942, during World War II and he touches on issues of that time period.

“Refugees, which of course was very topical during World War II when he wrote the play, which is something that is still with us,” Koenig said.

Nelson said she doesn’t want to be cliche or political when she says the play is relevant to 2018, but it is. “I know actors always say the play they are doing is very relevant to today, but this is very relevant to today.”

The cast of dozens also features Leon Axt and Kraig Swartz and local actors Mia Moravis, John Smith, Ray Cote, Chris McCartie and Eve Pierce.

“The Skin of Our Teeth,” opens July 4 and runs through July 15.

Tickets are $42, and to help celebrate the Fourth of July, the Players is offering $20 tickets to the opening night performance. Tickets may be purchased online at www.peterboroughplayers.org or by calling the box office at 924-7585.