You could say it’s Showtime at Skidmore. From March 2-8, the Skidmore Theater will present an all-student production of Everything You Touch by Sheila Callaghan, the writer and producer of the Emmy Award-winning cable TV show Shameless. Callaghan’s play takes a darkly humorous perspective on the issue of a woman’s body image and the struggles she faces against self-hatred in a society that overvalues physical perfection.
“It resonates with me personally, and I think it’s going to really resonate with the Skidmore and Saratoga community at large,” says the play’s director Rachel Karp, who is also a member of the class of 2018. “It addresses body image; specifically, how women are taught by society—the fashion industry, the media and even our parents and friends and peers— how their bodies should look. The play follows one woman’s journey to come to terms with and eventually put aside a lifetime’s worth of this inherited self-hatred.”
Everything You Touch has two distinct plot lines: One follows the story of a designer in the New York City fashion scene in the ’70s; while the other focuses in on a woman as she drives across the country to visit her estranged and dying mother, an ex-model. In both stories, the central characters must reckon with the problems surrounding the idealized female form—the designer weighs whether to design clothing for the general public or just the fashionably paper-thin, while the road-tripper faces a lifetime of body image issues she inherited from her mother. “It’s a really fast-paced, quick-moving, hour-and-a-half, no-intermission piece,” Karp says. She says Touch is “infused with a little bit of magic and fantasy,” as its ensemble of female actors transforms from ’70s models into actual set pieces—furniture, gumball machines and memories in the contemporary world—then back again.
The entire production is student-run, meaning that members of the Skidmore student body were not only responsible for the casting and acting; but also the set, lighting, sound and costume design; and stage management. “It’s all people who have been working together on various projects throughout the past few years,” says Karp. “We all really click and work well together.”
Opening night is already sold out, but you can order tickets for the nights following here.