I have been asked to direct a rather important production of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "The Skin of Our Teeth" for a local classical theatre company. The show is being produced in association with a major college as part of both the English Department's World Drama class and the featured production at the first International Thornton Wilder Conference. I am both honored and terrified, though the producers and technical director both seem to be enthused by the ideas I've brought to them. That having been said, both are dear friends who know me well, so they may be prejudiced.
For those unfamiliar, "The Skin of Our Teeth" is sort of a comic compression of the history of Mankind, ranging from the Ice Age to the end of the Napoleonic Wars, though set in modern, Suburban New Jersey. It's an absurdest joy, featuring a dinosaur and mastodon as house pets, the Great Flood in Atlantic City and a family always on the verge of being torn apart by forces beyond their control, though always managing to hang on by the skin of their teeth.
Written in 1942, as war raged throughout Europe and the Pacific, Wilder's play evokes timeless themes of the unchanging human condition, proving that Man's indomitable spirit cannot and will not be broken, be it by acts nature or the acts of other men. Given the timelessness of the work, I have decided that the style of the show would be based on the "Steam Punk" movement, utilizing modified technology to appear as though it were powered by steam and great cogged wheels buried somewhere deep underground.
So, am I crazy? think it'll work? Did I mention the use of puppets throughout the show? Stay tuned and I'll let you know, starting on Monday, June 28th, after the first round of auditions. This will be my first attempt at blogging an on-going event and the first time I've actually written about the creative process in a journalized form. I hope you find it all as interesting as I hope to. And I hope that as you take the journey with me, you'll leave me your thoughts and comments.
Until next time...