Don’t “Brush” Off the Skin of Our Teeth

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Tavien Pollard

The CRLS theater family has pulled out yet another production in a time of remarkable adversity.

Ruri Duffy, Arts & Entertainment Editor

CRLS theater productions are back in full swing, kicking off with “The Skin of our Teeth”, a timeless meta-take on the troubles of the human race. After an abrupt halt to in-person public showings last year due to the pandemic, theater students were ready to be back. 

challenges have only made the choice of play more relevant”

Straying from previous, more straightforward productions, this year’s play follows the all-American Antrobus family in a three-act exploration of human discovery and tragedy. Max Reuter ‘22 takes on the lead role of Mr. George Antrobus, a temperamental father and husband; Antrobus pioneers the mysterious setting that lies somewhere within a mix of a pre-meteor time of dinosaurs and 1920s Atlantic City. Creator of the alphabet and inventor of the wheel, Mr. Antrobus is backed by his loving wife, played by Aurora Toledo Manrique ‘22. Mrs. Antrobus, a devoted mother to troublemaker Henry (Keefer Glenshaw ‘22) and Gladys (Julia Teller ‘24), is conflicted between her devotion to her eccentric husband and her growing weariness of his extremity. Roza Biewald ‘24, who plays Sabina, is their dramatic yet oddly loveable maid. Sabina also serves as the audience’s first glimpse into the “play within a play”, intermittently breaking character and taking on the role of an uncooperative Ms. Somerset who is (reluctantly) playing Sabina’s part.

While “The Skin of our Teeth” is unlike the more conventional productions CRLS theater has brought to life, the cast of “The Skin of our Teeth” does well to bring the multi-dimensional plot together with dramatic flair. Bezawit Mekonnen ‘24, who plays the role of a fortune teller in Act II, described the challenges this sort of story brought to the Register Forum, “The language can be unfamiliar, the timeline is tricky, and the frequent use of allusions can be disorienting… I had to figure out how to make the audience understand something that I initially couldn’t.” 

Even though it was a lot of work… rehearsals were my favorite part of the day”

This month also marks the first time CRLS performing arts shows have returned in person to the Fitzgerald Theater, with the CRLS MDC (Modern Dance Company) production and the annual winter Acapella Jam set to follow in the coming weeks before winter break. However, recent restrictions have posed some new challenges. Reuter (Mr. Antrobus) described the difficulties with new mask requirements, telling the Register Forum, “A huge part of acting is being able to use your face and facial features to portray emotions and other things. Having to cover up half of your face makes it significantly harder to act… and we had to learn how to use our eyes to a point where I haven’t before.” The cast shared that if anything, these challenges have only made the choice of play more relevant.  

The tight-knit CRLS theater family has pulled out yet another production in a time of remarkable adversity. Their daily rehearsals have paid off both for the audience and for the students involved. “Even though it was a lot of work and sacrifice in other areas of my life, rehearsals were my favorite part of the day,” Julia Teller (Gladys) shared with the Register Forum.

This piece also appears in our December 2021 print edition.