Thornton Wilder's classic "The Skin of Our Teeth" goes digital

ByBethany Owings WPVI logo
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Thornton Wilder's classic "The Skin of Our Teeth" goes digital
Thornton Wilder's classic "The Skin of Our Teeth" goes digital with Quintessence Theatre group.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A local theatre group is staging a virtual play about a couple married for 5,000 years!

Karen Rogers has the story in this week's 6abc Loves the Arts.

Philadelphia's Quintessence Theatre Group is coming to a screen near you with the company's latest On-Demand virtual theatre experience.

"We are bringing to life Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Skin of Our Teeth. It's a satire on American society and life, " says Alexander Burns, Founder and Artistic Director of Quintessence Theatre Group.

The play, which first premiered on Broadway during World War II, follows the life of a seemingly perfect family, over the course of 5,000 years.

"What happens to the nuclear American family if suddenly an Ice Age hits? What happens if the Great Biblical floods happens? World War 3? And how does this American spirit endure?" explains Alexander.

It stars a real-life couple, Tony-Award winner Rachel Bay Jones and partner Benim Foster.

"Zany. We own, at what for pets, a woolly mammoth and a dinosaur?" discloses Benim Foster, who plays George Antrobus.

Alexander Burns founded Quintessence 10 years ago.

"Our vision is about taking these old plays and bringing them to life in new ways," explains Alexander.

The name is inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet.

"Hamlet says, 'What is this quintessence of dust?' It's this idea of quintessence is the purest form of something. To us, that's what the theater is. It has this sort of quantifiable magic to it," reveals Alexander.

The production marks the first time the artists have come together since the pandemic.

"There's so many parallels with what happens with our characters and what we've all been through the past year and a half," acknowledges Benim.

Rachel Bay Jones, who plays Maggie Antrobus, asserts, "The comedy of our struggles! The great news is, we keep going; this family keeps going."

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Quintessence Theatre is streaming "The Skin of Our Teeth" through Aug. 1