The Skin of Our Teeth

From the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, Western civilization was built upon the notion of cause and effect, the logical presumption that time is linear and that no two objects can inhabit the same space. Then, about a hundred years ago, Einstein's Theory of Relativity began to change this way of thinking. Not only was the Euclidean notion of "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line" abandoned by science, but in the arts as well, the barriers of perception were being broken.

In the American theatre, the Broadway opening of Thornton Wilder's Our Town in 1938 ushered in the end of realism: space and time were warped, memory mixed with being, history haunted the present. For this, Wilder won his second Pulitzer Prize. He had already been awarded the honor in Literature (for the The Bridge of San Luis Rey). Four years later, Wilder's parable of eternal return, The Skin of Our Teeth, won him his third Pulitzer.

In the Denver Center Theatre Company's current production of this classic, Wilder's sixty-year old handiwork is as cutting edge as ever. The Antrobus family may live in New Jersey, but their history is that of humankind itself, surviving the Ice Age, the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Apocalypse.

Director Laird Williamson remains true to the playwright's symbolic vision, while sprucing up the production with a few historical references of his own, such as the Andrews sisters appearing as the three muses.

Andrew Yelusich's set and costumes blend realism and fantasy to great effect, paving the way for ensemble favorites, Jamie Horton, Carol Halstead, Jacqueline Antaramian, Stephanie Cozart, Kathleen Brady, and others to find the divine comedy in our daily struggles and successes.

Whether or not the audience finds any emotional parallels between the moral dilemmas experienced by the original audiences in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and our present self-serving adventurism following 9-11, as was the intent of company, The Skin of Our Teeth remains a powerful, relevant commentary on the human condition. It runs through November 9th. 303-893-4100.

Bob Bows


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