Lark Play Development Center to Present BareBones SKELETON CREW Workshop, 2/21-3/3
The Lark Play Development Center announces a BareBones workshop production of Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau (Detroit '67 and Sunset Baby), the third and final play in her Detroit cycle, to be directed by Artistic Director of Baltimore's Center Stage and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London, Kwame Kwei-Armah. The workshop will run at Lark's BareBones Studio from February 21 - March 3 at 311 West 43rd Street in New York City. All tickets will be free and will open for reservations in January.
Lark's Director of Onsite Programs, Lloyd Suh, describes Skeleton Crew as "a timely and intimate look at the lives of four Detroit auto workers as they struggle through an uncertain future. It's about pride of work, the dignity of building something and the struggle to stay afloat in a changing America. It's a love song to the backbone of Detroit that celebrates the heroism of those that work to build community." Artistic Director John Clinton Eisner says of the play "Skeleton Crew is perhaps Dominique's most exquisite play to date, with richly developed characters that challenge actors and delight audiences."
Morisseau developed Skeleton Crew during her 2012-13 PoNY Fellowship year at the Lark Play Development Center. The PoNY fellowship provides economic flexibility, artistic support and housing for a year in the PoNY apartment in the heart of the theater district in New York City. Morisseau has worked on the play in multiple Lark programs including the esteemed Playwrights' Workshop led by Arthur Kopit and Lark's Roundtable Program led by Suzy Fay. While Morisseau was known by the Lark through her work on Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, her writing was first introduced to the Lark through the submission of her play Detroit '67, the first play in her Detroit cycle, to Playwrights' Week at the Lark in 2011. Detroit '67 was one of seven selected from a pool of over 550 submissions to be included in Playwrights' Week 2011.
Since working with the Lark, Morisseau has received a number of productions. Detroit '67 is currently running until December 15th at Northlight Theatre in Chicago and premiered last season at The Public Theater and The Classical Theatre of Harlem in New York. Morisseau has been awarded Williamstown Theatre Festival's 2013 L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting for the second play in the cycle, Paradise Blue. Her play Sunset Baby is currently playing at LAByrinth Theater Company in New York City and has been extended through December 15th.
Director Kwame Kwei-Armah has worked with Morisseau on the other plays of her Detroit Cycle and directed the production of Detroit '67 at The Public Theater and The Classical Theatre of Harlem. On this project Kwei-Armah says, "I am overjoyed to my soul to be working with Dominique Morisseau again on part three of her Detroit trilogy, Skeleton Crew. She is for me one of the most exciting writers I have ever had the pleasure of dancing with. Her vision and skill touches me every time I encounter them. I can't wait."
Barebones are simply staged, fully rehearsed, off-book public presentations of plays in the final stages of development. BareBones are Lark's most intensive development workshops with plays receiving 80 to 100 hours of rehearsal and 6 to 12 performances. Past BareBones include Katori Hall's The Mountaintop (2010 Olivier Award, 2011-12 Broadway Production starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett), Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (nominated for a Pulitzer Price, 2011 Broadway Production with Robin Williams) and Mona Mansour's The Way West (premiering at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in April 2014).
Actor Jordan Mahome and Dominique Morisseau in Katori Hall's The Mountaintop Barebones 2008-09
Lark programs are made possible with leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC; The Ford Foundation; the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; the Jerome Foundation; the Lambent Foundation, Fund of Tides Foundation; The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts; the One World Fund; and The Shubert Foundation.
In this third and final installment of a 3-play Detroit cycle, Skeleton Crew tells the story of a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city who learn that they will shut down by the end of the year. The plant's most veteran worker, Faye Davison, will be hardest hit, as she navigates her foreclosed home, dangerous habits and a stubborn will that prevents her from seeking the help she requires. As the rest of the crew face inevitability with varying degrees of distress, the lines between blue collar and white collar get blurred until someone steps so far over the line the act becomes irreversible.
Skeleton Crew dances with humor, tragedy, and strikes a stylistic balance between naturalism and an ethereal world where multi-disciplinary collaboration is encouraged. Finalizing the Detroit trifecta, this play moves into questions that the city is currently grappling with in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, auto-industry turmoil, unemployment, and most recently - bankruptcy.