The drama department brings “The Skin of Our Teeth” to East

Leah Mashioff ('14)/ Eastside Staff Writer

Imagine life taking place in an apocalyptic world, such as that of films like War of the Worlds or I am Legend where the end of human civilization is at its peak.  Imagine that world coming live onstage here at Cherry Hill East, minus the aliens and the mutated humans.  Interested in seeing how mankind can overcome supernatural phenomena, after all, are not we here after Hurricane Sandy?

The Cherry Hill East Theatre Department is bringing what Director Mr. Tom Weaver says is an “incredibly written comedy and farce,” called the “Skin of Our Teeth,” a play about the life of mankind.

“The Skin of Our Teeth” consists of a three-part allegory, which encompasses life extinction due to an Ice age, God’s Judgment and Earth’s Decadence as well as World Wars and Post-War Reconstructions.  In addition, the play incorporates biblical allusions into its acts, such as in Act 2, where God saves protagonists Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus from the severe flood that destroys the Atlantic City Boardwalk—no pun intended.

In the play, the characters’ roles as archetypes, emphasized by their identification with biblical and classical personalities, such as Henry Antrobus, have their names changed.  Antrobus’ name becomes “Cain,” following his death of his brother, Abel.

The protagonist of the play is Mr. Antrobus.  He is played by Joseph Ciurlino (‘13) in the Red Cast and played by Brandon Weinberg (’14) in the White Cast.  Weinberg describes his character as a family man, a “Big Man” inventor, who is far from perfect.  Weinberg said that Antrobus is “like a politician—well-spoken, but fails to follow through.”

Another principal character in the play is Lily Sabina, played by Dakota Judge (’13) (Red Cast).  Judge plays multiple roles besides Lily Sabina, such as a second wife to Mr. Antrobus, a maid, and a temptress in Act 2, to finally a war veteran in Act 3.  Judge said, “it’s a play within a play,” where at some points, the actors divert from their character to play themselves, talking directly to the audience.

Alexandra Maresh (’14), who plays Lily Sabina (White Cast), highlights that she had fun with the script, saying it felt “very open to interpretation.” She also likes that the play was modified to fit the present time period as opposed to the 1942 version.  She said it feels “more local.”

The character of Mrs. Antrobus, known as ‘Maggie’, played by Molly Nugiel (’13), is the strong motherly figure, with strong moral values that she wants to assure are instilled in her children.  Nugiel felt inspired by her unique role, admitting the role “makes [her] grow up a little.”

Weaver views the play as “intellectually funny, [which] makes [a person] stop and look in the mirror [into] the greed and conceit of life, [and] learn to move on and get better.”

The setting of “The Skin of Our Teeth” originally was in Excelsior, New Jersey, although the Drama department at East is bringing it home to the audience, by setting it in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Furthermore, Weaver is very pleased with his cast this year, as he compliments his actors and actresses as the “most academically smart…despite 127 pages [of script] to memorize.”

If there is anything to take away from this play, which touches upon the notion that despite natural and man-made catastrophes, it is that the human race will always survive by “the skin of our teeth.”

The play is November 30, December 1, 7 and 8, 11 at 7:30.  Tickets are $8 dollars for students and $10 for adults.