Fresh Eyes on The Skin of Our Teeth: 5th Installment
The Skin of Our Teeth had its first preview last night – and Fresh Eyes were there to see it. This is a big, shaggy beast of a show, with loads of tricky performance demands and technical challenges. Last week’s rehearsals were all about the tech – lights, sounds, costumes, wigs, projections, video feed, and massive scene changes – and last night’s preview was only the second time the show was run with all of its parts working… or at least mostly working. Not surprisingly, there were bumps here and there – nothing awful, but not as smooth, quick and seamless as it will be by Saturday’s opening night. By then, the wrinkles will be ironed out, the set changes will be like clockwork, the actors will have a great feel for the rhythm and laughs, and the story of the Antrobus family will skip, bumble, and sail along just as it has throughout human history. Tra la!
We want to thank Katy, Lorraine and Jessica for all their time and thoughtful participation in Fresh Eyes. They've been lovely guests in our rehearsals, and we hope you've enjoyed their unique points of view into the rehearsal process! Here are their observations:
WOW! How fun to see the (almost) finished product after being part of the rehearsal process. While there were a few technical glitches, I loved the video and staging and was astonished at how much richer it made the show.
I was really glad to bring my new neighbor who had not yet been to ART. Without the benefit of attending rehearsals or reading the play, she expressed some confusion and perhaps other audience members will as well, but the genius of the play is the way it can wash over you and resonate in thought. For example, she thought all of Act II could be cut; I demurred and this led to a productive (hopefully!) discussion on the way home about public relations, politics, marriage and the current state of the world. (Plus I loved the animals entering the ark.)
Act III, which I was least familiar with from rehearsal, surprised me with its poignancy. The "keep on keeping' on" message and the references to learning and literature were more moving than I expected.
As always at Artists Rep, the acting was superb. I look forward to seeing the play again when ushering!
Preview night arrived at last, and it was truly something to behold. None of us had seen the play performed outside of the rehearsal room, so experiencing The Skin of Our Teeth on the Alder Stage was a real treat.
It was interesting to note how very different the whole play came off with people in attendance. Particularly in the first act, when Sabina breaks the fourth wall so often, the interplay between the actors and the audience became very significant. I felt as though the actors were saying their lines in a more exaggerated way than they had in rehearsal. Timing was sometimes thrown off kilter because of audience response - generally laughter! Of course, having the full set, costumes, lighting, sound design, etc., enhanced the entire experience.
There are two intermissions, both quite long last night due to the fact that the whole set needs to be changed each time. There were clearly some rocky moments - more technical then actor-related, but because so much chaos ensues in all three acts, ad-libbing is not only required but welcome.
My husband and I have tickets to see the Sunday matinée, and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how much more progress has been made. Many thanks to Luan Schooler for inviting me to participate in this Fresh Eyes project. Very worthwhile, and highly recommended!