On November 21, students from high schools across Virginia traveled to the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts to see the University Players’ production of Thorton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Skin of Our Teeth.”

The production was put on especially for them, one of many high school matinees that the Players have put on over the years.

“The high school audiences are often our favorite,” said theatre professor Dorothy Holland, who directed the production. “They are so open and appreciative and it’s always a thrill to see all those school buses pulling into the Modlin Center parking lot.”

Over 500 students and teachers from area high schools attended this year’s matinee, coming from Bassett County High School, Charles City High School, Covenant High School, Fluvanna County High School, Franklin Military Academy, Louisa County High School, Manchester High School and Yeshiva Shaarei Torah of Richmond.

The production featured 16 student actors, along with professional actors Joe Inscoe and Irene Ziegler. The cast and crew held a talk-back after the performance to answer questions from the audience. Among the high school theatre students who participated in the talk-back were students from Louisa County High School. The students were opening a production of the musical “Sweeney Todd” later that evening.

“Their enthusiasm and interest made for a really rewarding post-show discussion,” Holland said.

“The Skin of Our Teeth” is the satiric story of the Antrobus family through the ages. They survive the ice age, the great flood, a dozen wars and as many depressions.

“They are the stuff of which heroes and buffoons are made. Always on the razor's edge of disaster, their survival is both a cautionary tale and a wacky testament of faith in humanity,” said Holland.

The department chose this play, Holland says, because it fit into the Modlin Center’s theme—this year many of the Center’s productions and presentations focus on war.  She added that the design team, headed by theatre faculty Johann Stegmeir and Reed West, developed a compelling modern approach to the play.

Photos of "The Skin of Our Teeth"

Peter Solomon of NPR interviews Joe Inscoe about the University Players' production of "The Skin of Our Teeth."

Listen to the talk-back.