In summer of 2005 THE SKIN GAME marked the opening of the Mint’s theater on the third floor at 311 West 43rd Street. John Galsworthy’s gripping drama of battling neighbors and class prejudice hadn’t been seen in New York since 1920.

Galsworthy, a Nobel Prize winner, wrote 20 novels, over 150 stories and 27 plays in his lifetime but is best remembered as the author of the immensely popular The Forsyte Saga. His play THE SKIN GAME came to New York in the fall of 1920 where it ran for 176 performances in spite of the play being “thrown hopelessly out of focus,” according to Alexander Woollcott of the New York Times, “by the injudiciousness with which its company has been chosen.”

85 years later, Mint Theater’s production of THE SKIN GAME put the focus back on Galsworthy’s worthy but neglected drama. “Provocative and entertaining theatre”1 declared Lawrence Van Gelder in theNew York Times, while Robert Simonson wrote in Time Out New York that the play “packs the wallop of a meaty melodrama, ranging over a menu of blackmail, class warfare, adultery, and attempted suicide.”2

In 1893, while on a cruise in the South Seas, John Galsworthy, then a young lawyer with a decided distaste for his profession, became acquainted with the first officer of the ship and the two became close friends.  The mate was Joseph Conrad.  He had written “Almayer’s Folly” and showed the manuscript to Mr. Galsworthy.

It is probable that Mr. Galsworthy had also written a good deal at that time, and he revealed this to some extent many years later, when he said: “I was writing fiction for five years before I could master even its primary technique.”

At the time of his meeting with Mr. Conrad, Mr. Galsworthy was traveling about the world.  He was a member of a very old Devonshire family, and his father had amassed considerable wealth in successful legal practice in London.  The man who was later to create The Forsyte Saga was thus born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

The traditional characteristics of his own people, their conservatism and cult of property were to be recorded later in the Forsyte books, but to begin with, Mr. Galsworthy wrote sketchy stories under the nom de plume “John Sinjohn.”

Mr. Galsworthy’s mature works, both novels and plays, are of unusual penetrative powers.  What he did for the English drama was to lift it from the stilted and the artificial to the natural….They have neither the whimsicalities of Sir James Barrie nor the eccentricities of dialogue that distinguish George Bernard Shaw’s plays, but this very baring of the human soul which Galsworthy so well achieved was a distinct addition to the English drama.

(excerpted from The New York Times obituary, February 1st, 1933)


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  • Auctioneer, Stranger Nick Berg Barnes
  • Rolf Denis Butkus
  • Jill Nicole Lowrance / Winslow Corbett
  • Mrs. Hillcrest Monique Fowler
  • Hornblower James Gale
  • Charles Leo Kittay
  • Chloe Diana LaMar
  • Mrs. Jackman, Anna Pat Nesbit
  • Mr. Jackman, Stranger Carl Palmer
  • Dawker Stephen Rowe
  • Hillcrist John C. Vennema
  • Fellows, Solicitor Richard Waddingham


  • Set Design Vicki R. Davis
  • Lighting Design Traci Klainer
  • Costume Design Tracy Christensen
  • Assistant Costume Design Colleen Kesterson
  • Sound Design Bruce Ellman
  • Properties Designer Judi Guralnick
  • Dialects Amy Stoller
  • Production Stage Manager Amber Wedin
  • Assistant Stage Manager Mandy Berry
    and Denise Zeiler
  • Casting
    Stuart Howard, Amy Schecter & Paul Hardt
  • Press Representative David Gersten & Associates
  • Graphics Hey Jude Design, Inc.


Christian Parker, Dramaturg of Atlantic Theatre Co.’s production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchardand Mint Artistic Director Jonathan Bank contrast and compare the characters of Lopakhin (The Cherry Orchard) and Hornblower (The Skin Game). Both characters are newly rich, both want to develop land owned for centuries by rich ruling families, and both are despised for it—what makes these characters ‘tick’ and why is their struggle a compelling one for two master dramatists?


Mildred Kuner, Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Drama at Hunter College speaks on Galsworthy and his work. Professor Kuner received her MFA from Yale and her PhD from Columbia and taught at The New School and NYU. She was a Fulbright Scholar, winner of the Maxwell Anderson and Charles Sergel Awards for Playwriting. Her plays have been produced in university theaters, off-Broadway and at the Bristol Young Vic. She has written a monograph on W. Somerset Maugham, a critical biography of Thornton Wilder, a dramatic adaptation of Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn and is a lecturer on theater for WNYC Television.


Struggles over land use have been common throughout history in urban, suburban and rural settings? How does the use of land affect its residents? Do places hold memory for individuals and for communities? Why does place matter so much to us? Guest speakers from the Municipal Arts Society and Place Matters lead a discussion stimulated by the struggles over land in The Skin Game.