News Ticker

Thornton Wilder

The Skin of Our Teeth

May 4, 2022

You would think that at the tail end of a pandemic Thornton Wilder’s 1943 Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Skin of Our Teeth" would be the perfect play for our moment. This experimental play which pays tribute to the resilience of the human race offers hope in time of adversity. The experimental nature of the play uses techniques promulgated by James Joyce, Luigi Pirandello and Bertolt Brecht, none of which are so new or unfamiliar anymore: actors addressing the audience directly and stepping out of character, anachronistic events or references, etc. There are allusions to the Old and New Testament, Greek Mythology and Shakespeare. Writing in the middle of World War II, Wilder presciently made use of such themes as the problems of climate change, refugees, dysfunctional marriages, nepotism and political corruption, which remain at the forefront today. Even after 80 years, Wilder’s play seems eternally forward-looking, eternally novel, and continues to be an important piece of American theater. [more]

Gnit

November 9, 2021

Will Eno’s wry, contemporary 'Gnit" solves the problem of attempting to stage Ibsen’s unwieldy, five-hour verse play "Peer Gynt." The play given its world premiere at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2013 is now making its New York debut at Theater for a New Audience in a production directed by Oliver Butler, a longtime collaborator with Eno. Heavily influenced by the plays of Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, "Gnit" is a journey of the self to enlightenment with travel throughout the world. Part road movie, part folklore, and part horror story, "Gnit" makes an old play new again. [more]

The Alcestiad

June 19, 2021

Aside from the unevenness of the acting, Drance’s production has no consistent tone, shifting from comedy to drama to tragedy and back again. Not all of his interesting ideas are carried through: the first two acts have different performers playing Admetus and Alcestis which demonstrates the shift of 12 years; however, in the third act when Alcestis should be an old woman, the same actress who played her in her prime continues in the part. While the costumes by Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte and Mark Tambella are serviceable they are rather bland and unprepossessing. The uncredited sound design and the original music by Sara Galassini are muddy and unclear as broadcast from the one speaker on the left side of the audience. While there is no lighting design as the play is performed in broad daylight at this time of year starting at 7 PM, by the time the play is ending it is twilight and the fading light will make it painful for some viewers. [more]

The Skin of Our Teeth

March 8, 2017

Thornton Wilder’s "The Skin of Our Teeth" with its benign belief in the resilience of the human condition is unlike any other American play you are likely to see. Both heavily influenced by earlier European experiments in theater, it is also influential in itself. While Arin Arbus’ production for Theatre for a New Audience at times seems as though it need tighting up, it is a play that must be experienced in the theater which is why it has never been turned into a Hollywood movie. Go and see for yourself what only the live theater can do to expand your imagination. [more]

A Wilder Christmas

December 13, 2015

The Peccadillo Theater Company’s "A Wilder Christmas" is a gentle and genteel evening of theater:  two early Thornton Wilder one-act plays, directed with an attention to detail and a leisurely sense of timing by Dan Wackerman, the company’s artistic director.  "The Long Christmas Dinner" (1931) and "Pullman Car Hiawatha" (1930) together make for a rich sampling of Wilder’s familiar themes of family and the unavoidable specter of death (which, in Wilder, is only the beginning of another journey).  These themes were perfected in his 1938 masterpiece, "Our Town," including the conceit of a godlike Greek chorus in the form of a Stage Manager who explains and even supervises the action. [more]