Skeleton Crew, a play at the Atlantic Theater’s Stage 2 in NYC, is a really fine, moving play by Dominique Morisseau, a playwright whom I was not familiar with before. It concerns four workers in a Detroit auto plant in 2008, when there was a virtual collapse of U.S. manufacturing. The play opens as there is word that a sister factory has just shut down, and before the first act is over, it’s obvious that this factory is being prepared for the chopping block as well.
As the play progresses, we slowly learn about the lives and hopes of four people who work in the factory — Dez (Jason Dirden), an ambitious and angry young man; Reggie (Wendell B. Franklin), who made it from the factory floor into lower management; Shanita (Nikiya Mathis), a soon-to-be single mother who is proud of her work and her independence; and Faye (Lynda Gravatt), a union rep who is nearing her 30-year retirement. The entire action takes place in the break room of the factory and the actors do an incredible job of bringing the characters to life.
My mother, who saw the play with me, also thought the actors did a splendid job and liked the play; however, she felt the resolution at the end was a bit pat and somewhat forced. I didn’t have that issue; perhaps because I was so caught up in the characters’ problems and conflicts, both external and internal.
I only do occasional reviews of plays and/or books, but in this case, I wanted to promote what I think is a really excellent slice of life about a group of people to whom attention should have been paid. Skeleton Crew runs through February 14th; if you have a chance to see it, I recommend it.