Abstract

In 1955, American director Alan Schneider invited Thornton Wilder to attend rehearsals of the production he was preparing of The Skin of Our Teeth, the first important revival of the play since its premiere a decade earlier. Wilder’s rehearsal notes contained in a letter he sent Schneider after attending the rehearsal have not been previously published. Wilder’s interpretive insights into his work and his guidance for Schneider concerning the challenges inherent in The Skin of Our Teeth provide not only new historical information about the journey of this Pulitzer Prize-winning play, but they also offer useful guidance to future directors of the play. Additionally, this letter, the full text of which is transcribed here, reflects the congenial working relationship between these two important twentieth-century theater artists and points to Wilder’s continued influence over the professional career of Schneider who went on to become the foremost American director of the plays of Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee.

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