BWW Review: SKELETON CREW at Westport Country Playhouse
Dominique Morisseau's Skeleton Crew, the third of her Detroit trilogy of plays, opened at the Westport Country Playhouse. The theater company lives up to its tag line, "Theater worth talking about," in this powerfully written and well-acted ensemble play.
Skeleton Crew is about how three plant workers and a manager struggle as the last stamping factory in the auto industry is on the verge of closing. The setting is in 2008, shortly before the Great Recession with its financial and auto manufacturing crises took place. All the action takes place in the break room. Faye (Perri Gaffney), a union rep and 29 year factory veteran, is told by her manager Reggie (Sean Nelson) to keep news about the plant's closing under wraps until he can work out the transitions for the workers. She has the most to lose because she is a cancer survivor who has been living out of her car and sneaking showers in the plant. Dez (Leland Fowler) already has a foot on the gas pedal as he tries to build a repair shop. Shanita (Toni Martin), a second-generation factory worker who is single and pregnant, just wants to hold onto her job because she finds it more meaningful than, say, working in a copy shop. None of these characters are stereotypes. Each one has his story, and it is an important part of the play.
The only problem with the play is the confusing ending. Faye encouraged Reggie, whom she helped raise, to fight for the workers. And he does, literally. It's amazing that he wasn't fired after the fisticuffs. The play ends on a note that's more positive than the reality we all know. Nevertheless, the show is worth seeing because it grabs the audience by the heart. The actors are perfectly cast and have good chemistry with each other. The single set was designed cleverly by Caite Hevner with good complementary lighting by Xavier Pierce and sound by Chris Lane. Asa Benally's costumes were just right for the characters. LA William's sure direction keeps the characters and storyline tight.
Skeleton Crew runs through June 22 at the Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court in Westport. 203-227-4177. www.westportplayhouse.org.